“The national high school graduation rate for all public school students remained flat over the last decade, going from 72% in 1991 to 71% in 2002,” concludes a Manhattan Institute study, which looked at how many students who started high school earned a diploma four years later. The study did not count students who earn an alternative credential, such as the GED. Those who did graduate were more likely to be prepared for college, based on passing college-prep courses.
Nationally, the percentage of all students who left high school with the skills and qualifications necessary to attend college increased from 25% in 1991 to 34% in 2002. The finding of flat high school graduation rates and increasing college readiness rates is likely the result of the increased standards and accountability programs over the last decade, which have required students to take more challenging courses required for admission to college without pushing those students to drop out of high school.
New Jersey has the highest graduation rate at 89%; South Carolina is the lowest at 53%.
About 78% of white students graduated from high school with a regular diploma, compared to 56% of African-American students and 52% of Hispanic students.”
. . . There is also a large difference among racial and ethnic groups in the percentage of students who leave high school eligible for college admission. About 40% of white students, 23% of African-American students, and 20% of Hispanic students who started public high school graduated college-ready in 2002.
The number of college-ready graduates matches the number who enroll in college, suggesting that “there is not a large pool of students who have the skills necessary to attend college but do not do so because of lack of funds or other non-academic factors.”