U.S. DOE: Nation’s high school graduation rate hits record of 82 percent

The U.S. Department of Education this morning announced a record high school graduation of 82 percent for 2013-2014.

Georgia’s 2013-2014 rate was 72.5.


Last month, the state released its 2015 graduation rate, which was 78.8 percent, an all-time high under the new federally mandated formula for counting graduates. Before the feds mandated a uniform counting method five years ago, many states posted much higher rates because they dramatically undercounted dropouts.

From the U.S. Department of Education:

U.S. students are graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The nation’s high school graduation rate hit 82 percent in 2013-14, the highest level since states adopted a new uniform way of calculating graduation rates five years ago.

“America’s students have achieved another record milestone by improving graduation rates for a fourth year,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “The hard work of teachers, administrators, students and their families has made these gains possible and as a result many more students will have a better chance of going to college, getting a good job, owning their own home, and supporting a family. We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color.”

What’s more, the gap between white students and black and Hispanic students receiving high school diplomas continues to narrow, and traditionally underserved populations like English language learners and students with disabilities continue to make gains, the data show.

“A high school diploma is absolutely critical, absolutely attainable and key to future success in college, in the workforce and in life,” said Delegated Deputy Secretary John King. “It is encouraging to see our graduation rate on the rise and I applaud the hard work we know it takes to see this increase. But too many students never get their diploma, never walk across the graduation stage and while our dropout numbers are also decreasing, we remain committed to urgently closing the gaps that still exist in too many schools and in too many communities.”


Overall Changes in Graduation Rates


2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 3-yr change (2010-11 to 2013-14)
American Indian/Alaska Native 65 67 69.7 69.6 4.6
Asian/Pacific Islander 87 88 88.7 89.4 2.4
Hispanic 71 73 75.2 76.3 5.3
Black 67 69 70.7 72.5 5.5
White 84 86 86.6 87.2 3.2
Low Income 70 72 73.3 74.6 4.6
English Learners 57 59 61.1 62.6 5.6
Students with Disabilities 59 61 61.9 63.1 4.1
Total 79 80 81.4 82.3 3.3


Achievement Gap Changes

2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Black-white gap 17 17 15.9 14.8
Hispanic-white gap 13 13 11.4 11

Since 2010, states, districts and schools have been using a new, common metric—the adjusted cohort graduation rate—to promote greater accountability and develop strategies that will help reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide. For four consecutive years, graduation rates have continued to climb, which reflects continued progress among America’s high school students.

To ensure the economic strength of our country, students must graduate high school ready for college, careers and life. The Department has invested more than $1.5 billion in early learning; implemented strategies that improve achievement and close opportunity gaps, and awarded billions of dollars through such grant programs as Race to the TopInvesting in Innovation, and School Improvement Grants; and expanded college access and affordability for families.

To view the graduation rate data—including a state-by-state breakdown—click here.



Reader Comments 0


Are you kidding me!!!!!! If you believe these stats are a true indication of  the student's actual being proficient I will refer you to the Atlanta school scandal.


What value does the DOE add?  They have a budget of $70 billion.  What if that money went directly to the states without feeding a DC bureaucracy?


Getting the graduation rate up should be pretty easy now that the GHSGT has been eliminated.  Using some Beverly Hall techniques should also help.



"Credit recovery" is one Beverly Hall kind of technique for "making the numbers" -- that is, for driving up graduation rates.


Somebody's gotta say it: Graduation rates are meaningless if the students are not learning anything.


@Lee_CPA2 Yep. I once encountered a graduate who did not understand the relationship between Georgia, Fulton County and Atlanta. He thought he lived in City Georgia.


Is it finally time to acknowledge that the 72 percent illegitimacy rate among blacks is the primary reason black children lag in educational achievement?


@Bitcoined No, whether or not the parents have a marriage certificate - alone - is unimportant.  What is important is whether the parents are supportive of schooling, their educational level, whether they have drug problems, whether the neighborhood is safe, and the quality of education they get at school.  It would be nice if daddy were present to help raise the kid.

Does graduation mean education to a high school level or just a certificate of attendance?


@Starik: No, what is important is whether there is a father in the home. For most black children, there is not. If that were the case with whites or Asians we'd be discussing it in crisis terms.


@Bitcoined What's important is who the father is, and where he lives, and of course how many babies he has created with how many mamas..  The illegitimacy rate for whites is much higher than it used to be, and add on the divorces...  Asians have a cultural advantage on this front.

MaureenDowney moderator

Here is a quick response to the US DOE news:

Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the national high school graduation rate stands at a record high, up from 81.4 percent in 2013 to 82.3 percent for 2014. Four organizations leading the GradNation campaign to raise the high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 – the Alliance for Excellent Education, America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education – have issued the following press statement: 

The national high school graduation rate is at its highest rate ever, thanks in large part to the progress that has been made by young people and their families, educators, state and community leaders and organizations, and the business community over the past 10 years.

 But there are two issues that give us pause today. First, for the first time in four years, the country is not on track to reach the national goal of a 90 percent on-time high school graduation rate by 2020, missing by just a few tenths of a percent. Second, while there have been some significant gains for key subgroups, the nation continues to suffer from gaps in graduation rates affecting students of color, students from low-income families, students with disabilities and English-language learners. These are reminders that our work is not finished, that the last leg of this campaign will be very challenging, and that we must redouble efforts to reach our goal.

 We must continue to push toward a 90 percent graduation rate for all students. We must invest in evidence-based reforms and more effective use of resources for all students. We must remain diligent and steadfast in our efforts to implement what we know is working – including heeding early warning signs and surrounding students with more caring adults both in and outside the classroom – and to eliminate what we know is not working, including suspension and expulsion policies that have a disparate impact on young people of color and students with disabilities.

 The signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act  (ESSA) bill last week by President Obama is good news. ESSA will preserve the common calculation of graduation rates; disaggregation of data by race, ethnicity, income and disability to help us identify the gaps; and graduation rate accountability, all of which have been so critical to our progress to date. ESSA also includes a specific focus on high schools where one-third or more of students do not graduate. We must rally around these schools and support their success. “We have seen that with hard work, big change is possible. But with only a few years to go in the campaign, every organization, community, business, school and individual must get involved so more young people will have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Let’s use this moment as a reminder of the inequities that remain before us and keep our eyes on the prize of ensuring every student graduates from high school.



From your first link, above, I would urge all readers to read the tenets of, and the Presidents who signed, "The Presidents' Summit Declaration" on Education, from Gerald Ford through Barack Obama, at this link: http://www.americaspromise.org/our-history  (Go to "Home/About" and then to "Our History," then scroll to the end with President Obama's signature added in 2014, and go back to the subtitle entitled "The President's Summit" and read through to the end, about 4 paragraphs.)