Posted on 01/11/2016 at 10:28 AM by Liz Determan

ASCD’s “Top Four Graduation Rate Takeaways”
August 2015


  1.     High school graduation rates are at the highest percent than ever before nationally: 81.4%.  Some states are reaching 90%.
  2.     There is a national effort to measure the states’ graduation rates tied to a common measure of identifying students entering the 9th grade and receiving a graduation diploma in four years.
  3.     Significant gaps in subgroups still exist: there are as few as five percentage points in only two states, with at least six states having over twenty percentage points between their overall graduation rate and black graduation rates.  Students with disabilities and limited English proficiency are at a greater disadvantage as students of various ethnic backgrounds.
  4.     It is believed the increase in the national graduation rate is due to a more intentional effort to increase graduation rates in specific states and schools.

Graduation rates have always been one of the ways states assess the “success” of their school districts. 

  • What happens to our students once they graduate?  
  • Where do they go?  
  • How many of our students intend on going to either a 2- or 4-year postsecondary educational institution?  

Most of our district vision and mission statements include graduating students who will be lifelong learners, globally competent and who exhibit life skills that will lead to success.  Once they leave our buildings, we tend to lose sight of where they end up going and how they are doing.  It is usually our assumption that they achieve the same level of success we experienced in transitioning from high school to college to employment, or what we have seen our extended families experience.  This transition is not always what we would hope.  We should work on ways, whether we attempt to phone survey or Facebook search, to follow our graduates to determine their persistence in pursuing education and training past high school. We need to determine if we are actually meeting our vision and mission as a PK-12 system.

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