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Projections of 2003-04 High School Graduates

Supplemental Analyses based on findings from <i>Who Graduates? Who Doesn't?</i>

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Document date: June 09, 2004
Released online: June 09, 2004

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).


1. INTRODUCTION

This report presents a supplemental analysis based on the findings of a recent Urban Institute study. In that earlier investigation, Who Graduates? Who Doesn't?, we published the most comprehensive and systematic analysis of public school graduation rates in the United States available to date.1 Using data from a federal census of public schools and districts and a method for calculating graduation rates developed by the Urban Institute (the Cumulative Promotion Index), we computed graduation rates for virtually every school district in the nation. Separate graduation profiles were reported for the nation as a whole, each state, and for geographical regions. Results were also disaggregated by race-ethnicity, gender, and for different types of school districts.

A careful analysis of high school completion patterns can provide valuable insights into the performance of public education systems. In some situations, the most pertinent information can be communicated as a rate, in this case the percent of students who graduate from high school. But in other circumstances, count data (e.g., the absolute number of graduates) can also contribute to our understanding or appreciation of an educational process or the magnitude of a potential social problem.

For instance, in Who Graduates? we reported that racial-ethnic minorities (with the exception of Asians) have graduation rates much lower than those of their White peers. Minority students make up less than 40 percent of public school students nationwide. However in the current study we project that racial-ethnic minorities will make up the numerical majority of all non-graduates for the high school class of 2003-04. We estimate just over 700,000 minority non-graduates compared to a little under 600,000 for Whites (see Tables 2-6 below). This pattern can be attributed to the very large disparities in high school completion between these groups (a 75 percent graduation rate for White students compared to slightly over 50 percent for historically disadvantaged minority groups).

In this report, we make use of our earlier findings on graduation rates to compute projections of the numbers of students we expect to graduate from public high schools at the end of the current school year (2003-04). As was the case in our previous work, detailed national and state results are presented for students as a whole and for selected subgroups.

Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).


1 For additional information, see Who Graduates? Who Doesn't? A Statistical Portrait of Public High School Graduation. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2004.


Topics/Tags: | Education | Governing | Race/Ethnicity/Gender


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