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Education

Narrative

In 2009, nearly 90 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds not enrolled in high school had received a high school diploma or alternative credential in the United States. Status completion rates1 were highest among non-Hispanic Asians and Other Pacific Islanders (95.9 percent) and non-Hispanic Whites (93.8 percent). These rates were lower in other racial/ethnic groups, including non- Hispanic persons of two or more races (89.2 percent), non-Hispanic Blacks (87.1 percent), non- Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives (82.4 percent), and Hispanics (76.8 percent).

Differences are also observed between males and females within racial/ethnic groups. Overall, females had a higher status completion rate in 2009 (91.2 percent) than their male counterparts (88.3 percent). Among non-Hispanic Whites and Blacks, females aged 18-24 who were not enrolled in high school had higher status completion rates than males (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

The National Assessment Governing Board sets three achievement levels – Basic, Proficient, and Advanced – for children based on what students should know and be able to do at each grade assessed.2 In 2011, 82.5 percent of 4th graders and 73.4 percent of 8th graders, respectively, were at or above basic proficiency in mathematics, while 67.5 percent of 4th graders and 76.0 percent of either grade students had achieved at or above basic proficiency in reading.

Among eighth-graders, there was no significant difference in the proportion of students achieving at least basic proficiency in mathematics by sex; however, a slightly larger proportion of males than females were ranked as proficient or advanced in this subject. Larger differences were evident in reading: a significantly higher proportion of females were ranked as proficient and advanced than males (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

1 Status completion rates include individuals who are not enrolled in high school and who have earned a high school diploma or an alternative credential, including a GED certificate

2 National Center for Education Statistics. The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2011 (NCES 2012–458). Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

Dropout rates by race and sex graph

This image is described in the Data section.

Students by race and school type graph

Data

School Status Completion* Rates Among Persons Aged 18–24 Years Not Currently Enrolled in High School, by Race/Ethnicity, 2009

Percent of Population:

  • Total: 89.8
  • Non-Hispanic White: 93.8
  • Non-Hispanic Black: 87.1
  • Hispanic: 76.8
  • Non-Hispanic Asian or Other Pacific Islander**: 95.9
  • Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native: 82.4
  • Non-Hispanic Two or More Races: 89.2

*Status completion rates include individuals who are not enrolled in high school and who have earned a high school diploma or an alternative credential, including a GED certificate.
**Separate estimates were not available for non-Hispanic Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Source: Chapman, C., Laird, J., Ifill, N., and Kewalramani, A. Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2009 (NCES 2012-006). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. 2011.

Proficiency* in Mathematics and Reading among Students, by Grade Level, 2011
Grade Level Percent of Students**
Below Basic At or Above Basic At or Above Proficient Advanced
*Performance standards are set by the National Assessment Governing Board. Basic, Proficient, and Advanced Levels each measure what students should know and be able to do at each grade assessed. Basic denotes partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills, Proficient reflects solid academic performance, and Advanced denotes superior performance. Examples of knowledge and skills demonstrated by students at each achievement level are available in The Nation's Report Cards in Mathematics and Reading.
**Percentages are cumulative with the exception of Below Basic Proficiency.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
Grade 4 Mathematics 17.5 82.5 40.5 6.7
Grade 4 Reading 32.5 67.5 33.7 8
Grade 8 Mathematics 26.6 73.4 34.7 8.3
Grade 8 Reading 24 76 33.5 3.4