Understanding High School Graduation Rates (updated July 2009)
Graduation rates are a fundamental indicator of whether or not the nation’s public school system is doing what it is intended to do: enroll, engage, and educate youth to be productive members of society. Since almost 90 percent of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs require some postsecondary education, having a high school diploma and the skills to succeed in college and the workplace are essential. Yet nationally, one-third of students—about 1.3 million each year—leave high school without a diploma, at a high cost to themselves and society at large. Unacceptably low graduation rates, particularly among poor and minority students, have been obscured for far too long by inaccurate data, calculations, and reporting, and inadequate accountability systems at the state and federal levels.
Nationally, and for each state, Understanding High School Graduation Rates provides the latest graduation rate statistics, demonstrates graduation gaps between demographic groups, illustrates the discrepancies in graduation rates reported by government and independent sources, and examines the economic costs of dropouts to individuals and society.
State Specific Information
Sources and Notes
To learn more about these issues, visit this page to see all of the Alliance’s publications related to Graduation Rates, including: