New NCES Report: 78% of High School Students Graduate within Four Years

A new National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report finds that 78% of high school students, or about 1.3 million students, finished ‘on time’ in 2010. According to Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2009–10, this is the nation’s highest high school graduation rate since 1976.

The report presents high school graduation data that uses a common, rigorous adjusted four-year cohort that helps to provide uniformity among states when collecting and reporting high school data. Information presented in the report includes the number of high school graduates, the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR), and the dropout data for grades 9–12 for public schools in school year 2009–10 as reported by State Education Agencies (SEAs) to the NCES Common Core of Data (CCD).

Findings from the report include:

  • Nationally, students were more likely to quit school during their senior year, with almost 1 in 20 quitting before graduation day.
  • The AFGR showed at least one percentage point increase in the AFGR for 38 states when comparing data from 2009-10 with the prior school year (2008-09). The AFGR decreased by a percentage point or more for only the District of Columbia during that same time period.
  • Across the United States the dropout rate was higher for males than for females, at 3.8 % and 2.9%, respectively. The dropout rate was higher among males in every state, and the male-female gap ranged from lows of 0.2 percentage points in Idaho to highs of 1.7 in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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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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