Research

High School Graduation Minority Gap Closing Slightly

New data from the United States Department of Education shows that from 2011 to 2013, graduation rates for American Indian, Hispanic and black students increased by 4.7 percent, 4.2 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. Meanwhile graduation rates increased by 2.6 percent for white students and 1.7 percent for Asian and Pacific Islander students.

ED also measured increases in graduation rates for other minority groups over the same time period. Graduation rates for students with limited English proficiency increased by 4.1 percent; rates for low income student increased by 3.3 percent; and rates for students with disabilities increased by 2.9 percent.

In 2012-2013, the nation's graduation rate reached 81 percent, "the highest level in the nation's history," according to ED.

The rates were measured using the adjusted cohort graduation rate, a new, common metric that states, districts and schools have been using since 2010. According to ED, the adjusted cohort graduation rate is more accurate than previous methods and was implemented "to promote greater accountability and develop strategies that will help reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide."

Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education noted he's pleased with the rate increase but said he sees room for improvement. “While these gains are promising, we know that we have a long way to go in improving educational opportunities for every student –– no matter their zip code –– for the sake of our young people and our nation’s economic strength," he said in a prepared statement.

Detailed data about the graduation rates is available in an Excel spreadsheet from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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