U.S. on track to meet 90% HS grad. rate by ’20, R.I. falls behind

A NEW REPORT reveals that the United States is on track to meet a 90 percent national high school graduation rate by 2020, but Rhode Island was one of the states that was "off pace" to meet the goal within the time frame.
Posted 2/25/13

WASHINGTON – For the first time, new research reveals that the United States is on track to meet a goal of a 90 percent national high school graduation rate by 2020, according to a report released Monday.

The annual report, “Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic,” was released by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education.

The report showed that the national graduate rate hit 78.2 percent, an increase of 5 percentage points from 2006 to 2010. Rhode Island was one of only seven states that saw declines from 2006 to 2010. During that period, the state’s high school graduation rate dropped 0.35 percentage points to 76.4 percent.

Rhode Island, however, was one of a number of states that also reported numbers through 2011, when the state reported a total graduation rate of 77 percent. The Ocean State also broke out the rates for a number of cohorts. For instance, 82 percent of white students graduated in 2011, compared with 67 percent of both black and Hispanic students.

The state fared better with its graduation rate discrepancy between all students and students with a limited English proficiency, who graduated at a 68 percent rate.

There was, however, a 19 percentage point discrepancy between the 77 percent total graduation rate and the 58 percent graduation rate for students with disabilities.

Rhode Island was described as one of the 23 states that was “off pace” to reach a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020 at its current growth. Also “off pace” were Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

In the report, between 2002 and 2010, Rhode Island saw no change in the percentage of “dropout facilities,” high schools with graduation rates at or below 60 percent.

R.I. Department of Education spokesman Elliot Krieger said that, in 2009, the state changed its reporting methods, which could have affected how the report calculated its rate. For 2011, the state reported an average four-year graduation rate of 77 percent.

The report used the “best and most recent data available,” according to a release. The data was the averaged freshman graduation rate in 2010, the adjusted cohort graduation rate for 2009 to 2011, and “promoting power” for 2011.

“This report tells us that the nation is making real and important progress in high school graduation,” John Gomperts, president and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance, said in prepared remarks. “Today, one million fewer students are trapped in failing schools than was the case a decade ago. The task now is to learn from what has worked, and redouble the efforts to stay on track toward the goal of 90 percent graduation by 2020.”

To get the full report, visit:

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