Policy Analysis | August 2016

Southern High School Graduation Rates

Mikko Lindberg

High school graduation rates across the nation continue to rise to new heights, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. The nation's high school graduation rate hit 82 percent in 2013-14, the highest level since states adopted a new uniform way of calculating graduation rates five years ago.

Since 2010, states, districts and schools have been using a new, common metric to promote greater accountability, reduce dropout rates, and increase graduation rates. For four consecutive years, graduation rates have continued to climb, which reflects continued progress among America's high school students.

For a number of years, the SLC Comparative Data Report on Education, prepared annually by legislative staff in West Virginia, has tracked graduation rates in SLC member states, among other key figures. This year’s report shows that the average graduation rate for SLC member states is slightly above the national norm, at 82.5 percent versus 82.3 percent, with Texas leading the Southern region, with a high school graduation rate of 88.3 percent for the 2013-14 school year.

Public High School Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (2013-2014)

(click on headers to sort by column)

State 2013-14
Alabama 86.3
Arkansas 86.9
Florida 76.1
Georgia 72.5
Kentucky 87.5
Louisiana 74.6
Mississippi 77.6
Missouri 87.3
North Carolina 83.9
Oklahoma 82.7
South Carolina 80.1
Tennessee 87.2
Texas 88.3
Virginia 85.3
West Virginia 84.5
SLC 82.5
United States 82.3

Note: These graduation rates were retrieved from Ed Data Express except for the rate for the SLC, which was partly based on imputed data.

Source: U.S. Department of Education | 2015 SLC Comparative Data Report - Education