News on Graduation and Dropout

News on Graduation and Dropout

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Media and Other Reports Related to Graduation & Dropout

February 18, 2016: KNOP News
North Platte, NE reports on the work that Kyle Hoehner, principal at Lexington High School in Lexington, Nebraska, has done to address poor academic outcomes at the high-poverty school. Hoehner and his staff developed the “Destination: Graduation” program which focuses on helping “raise test scores, attendance and graduation rates.” The piece reports that school administrators will be honored at the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ conference in Orlando later this month.
January 27, 2016: Education Week
The GED Testing Service has decided to lower the passing score for its high-school-equivalency exam, a move brought on by data showing that students who passed the latest, tougher version of the test were doing better in college than high school graduates.
January 21, 2016: Education Week

The nation's overall graduation rate may have reached a new high of 82 percent, but many states are still doing a dismal job in getting students with disabilities across the high school finish line on time with a standard diploma.

Fewer than half of the students with disabilities in Alaska, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, Mississippi, and South Carolina graduated with a regular diploma in the 2013-14 school year, the most current year for which statistics are available. In all, 33 states graduated fewer than 70 percent of their students with disabilities.

January 20, 2016: Education Week
The GED Testing Service has decided to lower the pass rate for its high school equivalency exam, a move brought on by its recognition that students who passed the latest, tougher version of it were doing better in college than high school graduates.
January 9, 2016: Wyoming Tribute Eagle

Just 49 test-takers in Wyoming in 2015 opted to take the GED (graduate equivalency diploma) test, according to preliminary numbers released Jan. 1.
But another 1,993 took the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET).
Wyoming began offering HiSET in 2014 after the U.S. Department of Education began allowing states to offer alternatives to the GED.

December 15, 2015: Education Week
The graduation rate for the nation's class of 2014 reached a record 82 percent, an increase of 1 percentage point from the class of 2013's graduation rate, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education Tuesday. 
November 30, 2015: NPR
A generation ago, a high school diploma could open doors, especially to well-paying manufacturing jobs. But today, with technology radically reshaping the U.S. economy, many of those doors have closed. The high school diploma is as important as ever — but as a stepping stone to a higher degree, no longer as a destination.
November 23, 2015: Education Week
The District of Columbia has decided to award high school diplomas to students who pass the GED. That move could prove to be the wave of the future.
November 10, 2015: Washington Post
The U.S. high school dropout rate has fallen in recent years, with the number of dropouts declining from 1 million in 2008 to about 750,000 in 2012, according to a new study to be released Tuesday.
October 19, 2015: Washington Post

An education report showing modest gains in most states’ high school graduation rates generated significant coverage over the latest news cycle, including national reports and a greater volume of reports on how individual states performed. Reports tend to be positive in tone, excepting those from states which saw declining figures. The Washington Post (10/20, Brown) reports that the report showed that “graduation rates ticked up in a majority of states in 2014,” even as racial disparities in most states’ graduation rates declined. The piece notes that national figures are not yet ready, and reports that Education Secretary Arne Duncan “said that the preliminary state numbers suggest that the country is on track for a rise in graduation rates for the third year in a row.” The Post reports that 36 states saw increases, while five states and Washington, DC saw decreases.

        The AP (10/20, Kerr) reports that the preliminary data show that most “states also are showing gains for black and Hispanic students.” Education said that Delaware, Alabama, Oregon, West Virginia, and Illinois showed the strongest gains.

        Education Week (10/20, Klein, Ujifusa) reports that education said it won’t know until early next year whether the overall national rate increased, though they “appear to be on track to rise for the third year in a row.” This piece also quotes Duncan about the positive steps the U.S. is making.

        The Wall Street Journal (10/20, Kesling, Subscription Publication) reports that Duncan called for further work to improve graduation rates and narrow achievement gaps, along with improving school climate issues that can impact achievement.

        The Huffington Post (10/19, Klein) reports that the data, released by the National Center for Education Statistics, show that “the graduation rate gap between white and black students and white and Hispanic students is decreasing in many states,” characterizing this as “a positive sign.” The Post reports that NCES “is expected to release more graduation data in upcoming months, including the nation’s latest overall high school graduation rate.” US News & World Report (10/19) also covers this story at the national level.

October 7, 2015: The Washington Post
The Obama administration has announced that it will begin to collect public data on chronic absenteeism rates at schools nationwide through an initiative called Every Student: Every Day, due to the growing body of evidence indicating that students missing more than 10 percent of the school year -- roughly 18 days -- are at an increased risk of dropping out. Researchers argue that schools can implement the best techniques and have the best teachers and/or principals, but none of that matters if the students are not in their seats. This report was also covered by Education Week, NBC News, and The Baltimore Sun. Click here to find a press release from the U.S. Department of education.
September 28, 2015: Time
TIME (9/29, Basu) reports that a study published Sept. 28 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs reveals that “in the run-up to the landmark 1984 act” establishing 21 as the national minimum drinking age, “states with lower minimum drinking ages saw higher high school dropout rates – in addition to what’s been already documented as other effects, such as lower educational attainment, higher substance abuse, and more.” The study, which “was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,” arrived at that conclusion after researchers examined “data from the 1970s and 1980s to see if there were differences in dropout rates.”
September 2015: Washington Post
Supportive relationships with adults may help at-risk students stay in school or return after dropping out, according to a survey by America's Promise Alliance. Emotional support and practical support, such as helping with a bus pass, can make a big difference, said John Gomperts, president and CEO of the alliance.
The link discussed in the article is here:
June 2015: National Public Radio
Graduation rates have improved from 72% in 2001 to 81% in 2013. NPR reports the three main causes for the improvement in graduation rates from 2001 to 2013: earlier school interventions, more flexible pathways to graduation, and  states "gaming system." Follow the link to see this information and more which are presented using a multimedia platform.
May 12, 2015: Education Week
The on-time high school graduation rate in the United States reached a record high of 81.4 percent in 2013 and is on track to reach 90 percent by 2020
May 6, 2015: Education Week
Luring students back to school is central to district's turnaround.
May 5, 2015: Education Week
The transition last year to a newer, more rigorous General Educational Development exam has been rocky thus far. 
March 17, 2015: Disability Scoop
An increasing number of students with disabilities are graduating high school; however, this still receive diplomas at a far fewer rate than other students. The graduation rate for students with disabilities reached reached nearly 62 percent during the 2012-2013 school year, representing a rise of almost 3 percent compared to two years earlier.
March 16, 2015: US News
U.S. high school students overall are graduating at a rate higher than ever before, and new data from the Department of Education show the same is true for minority students.
February 20, 2015: The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune (2/20) reports that according to Federal data, for the high school class of 2013, Texas had the second-highest graduation rate in the US. The state had 88% of Class of 2013 students earn their high school diplomas, compared with a US average of 81%.

February 20, 2015: Houston Public Media

 Houston Public Media reports that the US average of 81% was “an all-time high.” Other states with 88% graduation rates include Wisconsin, North Dakota, New Jersey, and Nebraska. However, Iowa led the US with a 90% graduation rate. On the other end of the spectrum, the District of Columbia had the lowest graduation rate, at less than 66%.

February 18, 2015: Disability Scoop
A new proposal in Congress would ensure that parents of students with disabilities are provided more information before their child is taken off track for a regular diploma.

February 12, 2015: The Washington Post

The nation’s high school graduation rate ticked up for the second year in a row, according to new federal data released Thursday showing that 81 percent of the Class of 2013 graduated within four years.
February 5, 2015: Detroit Free Press
Since the revision of the GED exam, there has been a decline in the amount of people that take and pass the exam. This article talks about the future trend of the exam and pass rates as well as other reasons (e.g., cost, increased difficulty) why there has been such a steep decline.
January 2015: National Public Radio
The number of individuals who have taken and passed the GED exam have drastically decreased after a new version of the exam was released.  

October 2, 2014: Fact Tank
High school dropout rates have reached a record low due to improvements by Hispanic and African American students.
September 4, 2014: The Washington Post
The nonprofit Carnegie Corportation of New York released a 2013 report stating that high school dropout rates could double as a result of the Core initiative.
July 15, 2014: Science Daily

Raising state-mandated math and science course graduation requirements may increase high school dropout rates without a meaningful effect on college enrollment or degree attainment. 

May 20, 2014 America's Promise Alliance 
“Don’t Call Them Dropouts,” a report by America’s Promise Alliance based on research conducted by its Center for Promise at Tufts University, was funded by Target. In the largest nationwide study of its kind to date, young adults who left high school without graduating spoke at length about their experiences and the reasons they did not complete high school on time.
April 2014: U.S. Department of Education
Public high school's graduation and dropout rates of students who graduated in four years.
2014: Stuart
How foster care experiences of California Public School students are associated with their educational outcomes.
April 27, 2014: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
U.S. public schools have reached an 80 percent graduation rate, which is projected to rise to 90 percent by 2020.
January 28, 2014: Education Week
The wide graduation-rate gaps in many states between students with disabilities and those in regular education raise the stakes for next year's first-ever federal evaluation of how well states are serving their special education students.
December 2013: Vera Institute
The Center on Youth Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice has released a document which raises awareness about law enforcement responses to noncriminal status offenses, such as truancy, running away, curfew violations, and other risky youth behaviors.
November 2013:
Efforts to ensure that students with disabilities receive an education that prepares them for the workforce are continuing to increase. However, many school programs are not doing enough to prepare young students. This paper, available here from,  describes the problem and proposes several solutions.
September 27, 2013: NPR
An electric wire factory in western Georgia is staffed almost entirely by teenagers. They are there because of a partnership between a local company, Southwire, and the Carroll County school system. They teamed up six years ago to try to reduce the high school dropout rate.
June 6, 2013: The Atlantic
For all the outcry over slipping education standards, a new report says schools across the country are gaining strength on one key indicator. The nation's high school graduation rate is approaching 75%, its highest rate in 40 years, according to Education Week.
May 28, 2013:
With cap-and-gown season in full swing, graduates are getting life advice from all corners. President Obama recently encouraged Morehouse College graduates to "work harder and dream bigger."
May 15, 2013: Education Week
A state-by-state analysis of the most recent data on graduation rates for students with learning disabilities shows that while more of those students have been leaving high school with a standard diploma, many states are struggling to reach the national graduation rate average of 68 percent for students in that disability category.
May 2013: National Center for Learning Disabilities
A new report from the National Center for Learning Disabilities finds that of the 2.2 million American students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD), only 68 percent graduate with a regular high school diploma.
February 20, 2013: ABC News
Receiving a waiver on No Child Left Behind regulations may weaken graduation rates.
February 12, 2013:
Lincoln Public Schools reported their highest graduation rate in 10 years.
January 2013: NewsLeader
Graduation rates are often calculated differently. NASSP is concerned that a popular formula only considers students who have spent four years at a particular school, which may not accurately reflect the true graduation rate.
November 14, 2012:
A variety of factors affect drop out rates, including family and peer support as well as early parenthood.
November 8, 2012: Education Week
Some educators are calling for the Department of Education to strengthen graduation rate accountability.
July 18, 2012: Huffington Post
A report by PBS's Frontline examines the work of Johns Hopkins researcher Dr. Robert Balfanz, who suggests there is a key period in middle school that determines whether a student will eventually drop out.  Story includes a video.
May 2012: The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research
Factors for academic success and graduation from public schools for English Language Learners.
September 2008: What Works Clearinghouse
Geared toward educators, administrators, and policymakers, this guide provides recommendations that focus on reducing high school dropout rates. Strategies presented include identifying and advocating for at-risk students, implementing programs to improve behavior and social skills, and keeping students engaged in the school environment.