At the beginning of the last decade, before concerns about the nation’s graduation rate ascended to prominence on the policy agenda, only about two-thirds of U.S. public school students were finishing high school with a regular diploma. A new analysis from the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center finds that the graduation rate for America’s public schools stands just shy of 75 percent for the class of 2010, the most recent year for which data are available.
The graduation rate, which has risen nearly 2 full percentage points from the previous year and 8 points in the past decade, has reached its highest point since 1973. At the current pace of improvement, the portion of students earning a diploma could surpass the historical high of 77.1 percent within the next few years.
The research center calculates graduation rates for the nation, states, and every public school district in the country using the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) method and data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data.
With graduation rates approaching all-time-high territory, there is reason both to be encouraged and to keep a focus on the efforts that have driven progress.
But there is a flip side to these gains: Far too many young people are still failing to complete a meaningful high school education. The EPE Research Center projects that 1 million students from this year’s high school class will not graduate with a diploma. That amounts to more than 5,500 students lost each school day, or one student every 31 seconds. <Read more.>