The Latest High School Graduation Rates

Until now, if you wanted to know how a school district’s high school graduation rate fared against other states or regions, you’d have to rely on state averages from the federal government. The Hechinger Report felt that was not good enough. (

The government mandated a uniform way of calculating high school graduation rates beginning with the class of 2011. Since then, the national rate rose from 79 percent to 81 percent in 2013. It ranges from 69 percent in Oregon to nearly 90 percent in Iowa. But with only state-level figures published, that’s an incomplete picture, since low-performers are masked into averages. Hence this map. It comes with caveats, too. These rates are for all students from 2013, as a handful of states have yet to report their 2014 numbers. The state information wasn’t always completely in line with the district maps, and obviously missing some districts. The data don’t capture charter schools or private schools. Different states have different graduation requirements. And reported graduation rates can be questionable.

Nevertheless, the numbers tell fascinating stories. At first glance, you can see some regional patterns: Just look at how low graduation rates are in the South, and at the stark differences along some state borders, like Texas’s high graduation rates and New Mexico’s low ones. Some states are generally consistent in their achievement (Wisconsin) or lack thereof (Nevada), while others have notable variation among districts. In Colorado, for instance, poorer-performing districts surround pockets of high graduation rates.