New research report: Washington posts low graduation rates overall and for low-income, Black and Hispanic/Latino students

A new national analysis of 2015 high school graduation data reveals more detail about Washington’s high school graduation rates. The updated Benchmarks for a Better Washington report we wrote about yesterday found Washington to be underperforming . 

  • The high school graduation rate has risen in recent years, however, Washington’s ranking has fallen as other states make faster improvements. The state now ranks among the bottom 10 based on graduation rates in 2014-15.

Washington ranked 41st among the states, with an overall high school graduation rate of 78.2 percent.

The 2017 update of Building a Grad Nation:Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates, a report by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, digs more deeply into the data. The results for Washington merit concern; overall and on select demographic groups. Here are graduation rate results from the report’s Appendix B.

  • Overall : Washington, 78.2%; US, 83.2%.
  • Black/African American: Washington 68.8%; US, 74.6%.
  • Hispanic/Latino: 69.6%; US, 77.8%.
  • White (not Hispanic): Washington, 80.9%; US, 87.6%.
  • Asian/Pacific Islander: Washington, 85.5%; US, 90.2%.
  • American Indian/Alaska Native/Native American: Washington, 60.0%; US, 71.6%
  • Students w/Disabilities: Washington, 58.0%; US, 64.6%.
  • Low-Income: Washington, 68.1%; US, 76.1%.
  • English Language Learner: Washington 55.8%; US, 65.1%.

In each category, Washington posted graduation rates below the comparable U.S. figure.

The report (executive summary here) states,

Since the 2010-11 school year, the national high school graduation rate is up more than four percentage points, rising from 79 percent to a record high of 83.2 percent in 2015. Over this five-year period, graduation rates have increased in almost every state and for every student subgroup. Progress since 2001 in raising high school graduation rates has resulted in 2.8 million more students graduating from high school rather than dropping out.

This progress, however, is tempered by slowing gains, stubborn graduation rate gaps for historically underperforming subgroups, and the significant number of students who still attend low-graduation-rate high schools. The nation needs to nearly double its rate of progress in boosting high school graduation rates in the coming years in order to reach its 90 percent goal by the Class of 2020.

The Associated Press reported on the research, noting

Iowa was the first state to reach a 90 percent graduation rate. Other high achieving states were Vermont, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Texas, Tennessee and Kentucky.

For those interested in exploring the challenges associated with boosting graduation rates, this report is a wealth of good information.