High School Graduation Rates, by State

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Taking a Look at the High School Graduation Rates, State by State

Graduation rates are often used as a barometer for school success. These numbers tend to be overemphasized, but they’re still one of the best indicators of future employability. In this guide, we’ve shared the most recent high school graduation rates by state, and we’ve made some resolutions for next school year.

Rates are Rising

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Graduation rates are going up across the country, with the 2015-2016 year seeing an 84.1% national rate. This is the fifth straight year of improvements, and a 5% jump in the national average between 2011 and 2016. This is excellent news for educators, parents, and Americans in general.

Star States

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When you look at high school graduation rates by state, there are quite a few standouts. Iowa leads the pack with an incredible 91.3% graduation rate, followed by New Jersey (90.1%) and West Virginia (89.8%). By far, Alabama saw the biggest improvement over the last five years, with a 15% increase in graduation rates. Georgia, Nevada, and West Virginia also experienced a 12% bump. All in all, these numbers are inspiring.

Struggling States

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Despite the encouraging news, certain states are still lagging, with high dropout rates, unwieldy class sizes, and underfunded budgets. Perhaps the most troubling case is Washington, DC, which only had a 69.2% graduation rate in the 2015-2016 year. Likewise, New Mexico had a 72% rate, and Nevada had a 73.6% rate. These numbers are considerably better than five years ago, but we still have a lot of work to do.

Resolutions for the Future

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Looking at the data, we can see exactly which states and demographics need more attention in the education system. For example, “English-Learners” have a 67% average graduation rate. This is up 10% over the last five years, but it’s still an unfortunate number. As we head into 2018, we should congratulate educators for their wins, and hold them accountable in areas that still need improvement.

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An Upward Trend

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Feel encouraged by these statistics? We are too. As a purveyor of graduation apparel, there’s nothing that makes the GraduationSource team happier than seeing more students graduating from high school. It makes our communities strong, positive, and more productive. Check out the GraduationSource blog for more graduation planning tips!

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