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Paper Thin? Why All High School Diplomas Are Not Created Equal

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Of the nearly 100 different types of high school diplomas that are awarded across all fifty states and the District of Columbia, less than half prepare students for success in college and career. And while the national high school graduation rate is at an all-time high, the rate at which students earn these college- and career-ready (CCR) diplomas is substantially lower, especially among students from low-income families, students of color, and other traditionally underserved students.

Paper Thin? Why All High School Diplomas Are Not Created Equal provides a state-by-state analysis of the different types of diplomas that states awarded to the Class of 2014 and the impact on traditionally underserved students.

Many states with multiple diploma pathways do not track which students take which pathway.

Paper Thin? Why All High School Diplomas Are Not Created Equal provides a state-by-state analysis of the different types of diplomas that states awarded to the Class of 2014 and evaluates whether each adequately prepares its recipient for college and a career.

States award 100+ different HS diplomas, but less than half prepare students for college and careers. Why this matters for historically underserved students from @all4ed: all4ed.org/diplomapathways Click To Tweet
Smaller gaps in states that automatically placed students in a CCR Diploma Pathway

Traditionally underserved students are less likely to graduate with a CCR diploma than their peers, but gaps are smaller in states like Arkansas, Indiana, and Texas that require all students to pursue a CCR diploma. In Texas, for example, 86.1% of white students and 85.7% of Latino students earned a CCR diploma—a difference of only 0.4 percentage points. In Maryland, which offers a CCR diploma but does not require students to pursue it, the CCR gap between the two student subgroups was more than 22 percentage points.

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