On-time high school grad rate is 72%

Only 72 percent of students in the class of 2011 earned a diploma in four years, according to the U.S. Education Department.

Iowa had the highest graduation rate at 88 percent with Wisconsin and Vermont at 87 percent and Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas at 86 percent.

The District of Columbia’s four-year graduation rate was 59 percent, the lowest in the country, notes Dropout Nation. Only 60 percent of black, Latino, and Native American students graduated on time. In Nevada, the black on-time graduation rate was 43 percent, the worst in the nation. Montana and Texas are “the only states in which four out of every five black freshmen in their respective Classes of 20111 graduated on time.” Minnesota had the largest racial achievement gap with a 49 percent on-time graduation rate for blacks and 84 percent of whites

Nationwide, 79 percent of Asian-American students and 76 percent of non-Hispanic whites finished high school in four years.

If a student needs five years to earn a high school diploma — and really earns it — that’s OK by me. I worry that “portfolio review” and “credit recovery” scams will pump up graduation rates.

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  1. What was the 4 year graduation rate from high school for the country in the 1950’s? 1960’s? I know that a huge percentage of soldiers in WW I and WW II were not high school graduates.

    • Mark Roulo says:

      According to Wikipedia, in 1950 a bit more than 50% of the people in the 25-29 age range had a high school diploma. By 1960 it was about 65%.
      This establishes an *UPPER* limit for the percent that graduated from high school in four years.

      We probably want to look at this sort of age range rather than “all adults” so that people who turned 18 in 1910 (and were thus 58 in 1950) don’t drag down the “recent kids with high school diplomas” number that we care about.


      • So, your response seems to confirm my thoughts. We constantly talk about how awful our education system is, and how awful teachers are. Yet if we compare results from today to historical results, we are doing as well or better than we ever have.

        • And the ethnic mix of the nation has shifted towards groups which historically underperformed the average.

          IIRC, Steve Sailer has broken down achievement by ethnic group and found that the USA educates each one as well or better than their native countries do.  It’s just that crossing the border fails to turn them all into Europeans that irks the egalitarians.

        • Probably.

          Life magazine ran a 5-part series of articles in 1958 titled “Crisis in Education”. Most of the concerns are pretty valid today …

          E-mail me (first name then last name [9 characters total] at yahoo.com) if you want a copy of the articles. They are still under copyright, but I photographed the pages over one long afternoon at my library and then transcribed the text. Because it is under copyright, I won’t hand out a URL, but I can mail you the content (I expect that this sort of thing is covered under fair use …)