Nationwide, the four-year high school graduation rate rose to 82.3 percent for the class of 2014, the U.S. Education Department reports. That’s up 1 percent from the previous year.
Gains were largest for lower-achieving groups, but gaps remain wide. While 89.4 percent of Asian-American students and 87.2 percent of whites earned a diploma in four years, only 76.3 percent of Hispanics and 72.5 percent of blacks did so.
Four-year graduation rates topped 90 percent in Iowa and Nebraska with New Jersey and Wisconsin close behind.
In the District of Columbia, only 61 percent of students graduated on time. New Mexico and Nevada also were at the bottom of the list.
Graduation rates can be manipulated, as Anya Kamenetz writes on NPR. “The rising graduation rate reflects both genuine progress and some questionable strategies.” States are trying “early warning systems and increased support, to multiple diploma tracks, second chances, and in some cases apparent manipulation of statistics.”
I’m very dubious about the use of credit-recovery programs to help students make up classes they’ve failed — often with little effort or learning.