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THE BIG 80s: U.S. National High School Graduation Rate Hits All-Time High of 81 Percent

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“America’s students have achieved another record-setting milestone,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The national high school graduation rate for the Class of 2013 was 81 percent—the highest ever recorded, according to new data released on February 12 from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The rate is up from 80 percent for the Class of 2012 and 79 percent for the Class of 2011.

“America’s students have achieved another record-setting milestone,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color. This is a vital step toward readiness for success in college and careers for every student in this country, and these improvements are thanks to the hard work of teachers, principals, students, and families.”

The measurement is based on the adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR), a common graduation rate calculation that states, school districts, and schools have used since 2010. The ACGR measures the percentage of students who successfully complete high school in four years and graduate with a regular high school diploma.

In November 2014, ED released ACGR state-level data showing that eighteen states have high school graduation rates at or above 85 percent. That data set also includes state graduation rates for students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency. ED hopes to release national graduation rates for students of color, students with disabilities, and English language learners in the coming weeks.

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.