Common Measure for State High School Graduation Rates

For the first time in the United States, all states are reporting their four-year high school graduation rates based on a common, rigorous measure. The U.S. Department of Education released data on November 26 presenting the new rates for school year 2010-2011. The new calculation showed 26 states reporting lower graduation rates, as compared to the previous year, and 24 states with rates that were unchanged or that had increased. The Department of Education warns, however, that these comparisons should not be viewed as indicators of progress, but rather as a more accurate reporting of data. The data reported is comprised of both national and state figures. Some national data figures include:

  • The total number of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools is 49,957,916.
  • 903,630 public-school students took at least one AP exam in 2010-11.
  • The Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) for 2008-09 was 75.5%.
  • 47,832 public elementary and secondary schools made AYP in 2011. There are a total of 92,699 public elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. as of 2011.

Moving forward, the Department has said the new scores will be a key element of school accountability, including for those states approved for ESEA flexibility. To view the new rates, visit the Department of Education’s ED Data Express:

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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