High School Graduation Rates in California and the United States Based on Race and Ethnicity

High School Graduation Rates in California and the United States Based on Race and Ethnicity

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Between 1990 and 2012, high school graduation rates in 25-29-year-olds have increased from 86 to 90 percent; this overall national rise is reflected in each of the ethnicities, White, Hispanic, Black, and Asian/Pacific Islander (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2013a). Prior to 2012, nationwide standardized objective measures did not exist for measuring four-year high school graduation rates; tracking educational progress varied from state to state. Thus, state education data collected from 1990-2012 are inaccurate as effective comparative groups unless knowledge of the state-specific previous methodologies is utilized (U.S. Department of Education, 2012a). Since 2012, the NCES, an entity within the Department of Education, has utilized a nationwide standard of the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR). The ACGR excludes from the graduation cohort previously included students who obtain a high school diploma through the General Education Development (GED) Test, an alternative diploma, or a certificate of attendance (U.S. Department of Education, 2008). By minimizing state-to-state variability, these more rigorous measures candidly depict the state of our youth and better allocate resources.

The U.S. Department of Education (2012a) defines the ACGR as “the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class.” Each cohort consists of students who enter the grade for the first time in a particular school year (SY); this may be ninth grade or the student’s earliest high school grade, and is adjusted for those that transfer in/out, emigrate to another country, or die during the cohort’s ...


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...an, C. (2012). The 9th grade shock and the high school dropout
crisis. Social Science Research. 41(3), pp. 709-730. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2011.11.014.
U.S. Department of Education (2012a). Four-year regulatory adjusted cohort
graduation rate school year 2010-11 [Provisional release: Data notes]. Retrieved March 3, 2014 from http://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/adjusted-cohort-graduation-rate.doc
U.S. Department of Education (2012b). SY2010-11 Four-Year Regulatory Adjusted
Cohort Graduation Rates [Provisional data file PDF]. Retrieved March 7, 2014 from http://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/state-2010-11-graduation-rate-data.pdf
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2008).
High school graduation rate non-regulatory guidance. Retrieved March 10, 2014 from https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/hsgrguidance.pdf

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