“The hard work of America’s educators, families, communities and students is paying off. This is a vital step toward readiness for success in college and careers for every student in this country,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “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.”
The government reported last month that the overall graduation rate for the high school Class of 2013 was 81 percent, an all-time high since most states began calculating graduation rates in a uniform way in 2010. Here’s a look at how it breaks down by group:
And this chart shows how the gap in high school graduation rates between students of color and their white counterparts has slightly narrowed in the last three years:
The data, collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, estimate the graduation rate by dividing the number of high school graduates in a class by the number of students who entered that class as freshmen four years earlier, with some adjustments made for transfers.
Official statistics had long overstated the nation’s high school graduation rates, with the Education Department putting the average above 80 percent and some states reporting rates above 90 percent. States used dozens of different reporting methods, with some figuring into their rates those dropouts who later earned the equivalency certificate known as a General Educational Development diploma, or GED.
In 2005, the Education Department began publishing an official estimate of graduation rates, and all 50 states agreed to adopt the same method of calculating those rates by 2013.