High School Graduation Rates in California and the United States Based on Race and Ethnicity

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Between 1990 and 2012, high school graduation rates in 25-29-year-olds have increased from 86 to 90 percent; this overall national rise is reflected in each of the ethnicities, White, Hispanic, Black, and Asian/Pacific Islander (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2013a). Prior to 2012, nationwide standardized objective measures did not exist for measuring four-year high school graduation rates; tracking educational progress varied from state to state. Thus, state education data collected from 1990-2012 are inaccurate as effective comparative groups unless knowledge of the state-specific previous methodologies is utilized (U.S. Department of Education, 2012a). Since 2012, the NCES, an entity within the Department of…show more content…
Chen’s state graduation rate data referenced the U.S. Department of Education to compare against her national percentages; this strengthened her findings. According to Nhan (2012), the Department of Education did not release national averages for race/ethnicity groups because several states had requested deadline extensions for these numbers, resulting in an incomplete data set. Thus, California’s progress is difficult to measure against that of the United States. Additionally, Chen’s results did not provide the rates for sub-divided racial/ethnic groups like that of California. This difference in how students are labeled and/or reported may skew the national population demographic for each of Chen’s three reported minorities. In spite of this, her data portrays that Asian and Latino students in the U.S. have significantly lower graduation rates than in California. Nationally, recent immigration and non-high school attendance in the U.S. contributes to the low percent for Latino students (Child Trends, 2013). Adversely, graduation rates for Black students in California reflect the national average. Overall, these statistics point out that educational resources need to be more effectively allocated to focus on California’s Black communities and to Asian and Latino communities nationwide.
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