2015 Building a Grad Nation Report – Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic

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Author(s):  Jennifer L. DePaoli, Joanna Hornig Fox, Erin S. Ingram, Mary Maushard, John M. Bridgeland, Robert Balfanz

Published: May 12, 2015

Report Intro/Brief:
According to the 2015 Building a Grad Nation report the national high school graduation rate hit a record high of 81.4 percent, and for the third year in a row, the nation remained on pace to meet the goal of 90 percent on-time graduation by 2020.

This sixth annual update on America’s high school dropout challenge shows that these gains have been made possible by raising graduation rates for groups of students that have traditionally struggled to earn a high school diploma.

The report also includes a comprehensive look at the  student groups and geographic areas that contribute to this progress and that will be key in meeting the 90 percent goal.

Continuing a pattern seen in earlier years, rates of improvement among states and large districts varied considerably between 2011 and 2013. Some districts, including those with a majority of low-income and minority students, made big improvements, while others lost ground.

This pattern indicates that high school graduation rates are not increasing because of broad national economic, demographic, and social trends. Rather, the constellation of leadership, reforms, and multi-sector efforts at state, district, and school levels drove this progress, and shows that with focus and concerted effort, graduation rates can be increased in every part of the country."