High School Graduation Rates
At a minimum, every student should graduate from high school ready for college or a career. But how well are schools, states, or even the nation overall doing at getting students to graduation day? The answer can be seen through high school graduation rates. These rates are key for accountability because they show graduation gaps between student subgroups; these disparities in student success are both an economic and equity imperative.

At face value, high school graduation rates may seem simple, but they are a metric around which much action revolves. This is because there are multiple ways to determine who counts as a graduate and over what timeframe. For example, should students who take five years to graduate from high school and earn a diploma be included in a) the count for the class they would have graduated with a year ago, or b) the class with which they actually graduated? Do dropout numbers include a) all students who do not make it to graduation day, or b) just those who officially tell their school that they are dropping out? How should students who transfer between schools be counted?

  Starting with the 2010–11 school year, all states started using a common, rigorous measure for high school graduation rates. This “four-year, adjusted cohort rate” counts all students who graduate within four years of entering high school and adjusts for transfers in and out of schools; this rate is what states will be required to report as part of their accountability systems moving forward.