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Education Working Paper
No. 8  February 2005


Public High School Graduation and College-Readiness Rates: 19912002

About the Authors

Jay P. Greene is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Education Research Office, where he conducts research and writes about education policy. He has conducted evaluations of school choice and accountability programs in Florida, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and San Antonio. He has also recently published research on high school graduation rates, charter schools, and special education.

His research was cited four times in the Supreme Court's opinions in the landmark Zelman v. Simmons-Harris case on school vouchers. His articles have appeared in policy journals, such as The Public Interest, City Journal, and Education Next, in academic journals, such as The Georgetown Public Policy Review, Education and Urban Society, and The British Journal of Political Science, as well as in major newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

Greene has been a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston. He received his B.A. in history from Tufts University in 1988 and his Ph.D. from the Government Department at Harvard University in 1995. He lives with his wife and three children in Weston, Florida.

Marcus A. Winters is a research associate at the Manhattan Institute's Education Research Office, where he studies and writes on education policy. He has performed several studies on a variety of education policy issues including high-stakes testing, charter schools, and the effects of vouchers on the public school system. His op-ed articles have appeared in numerous newspapers, including the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Chicago Sun-Times. He received his B.A. in political science with departmental honors from Ohio University in 2002.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their generosity in funding this study. They would like to thank the staff of the National Center of Education Statistics, in particular its director Bob Learner, for their assistance acquiring the data necessary to perform this study. The authors are also grateful for the assistance of Greg Forster and Louis Deszeran in the production of the report.

About Education Working Papers

A working paper is a common way for academic researchers to make the results of their studies available to others as early as possible. This allows other academics and the public to benefit from having the research available without unnecessary delay. Working papers are often submitted to peer-reviewed academic journals for later publication.

 


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WHAT THE PRESS SAID

SUMMARY:
This study calculates high school graduation rates and the percentage of all students who left high school eligible to apply for college from 1991 to 2002. The study finds that during this period the graduation rate went from 72% to 71%, while the college readiness rate increased from 25% to 34%. The authors argue that the finding of flat high school graduation rates and increasing college readiness rates is likely the result of the increased standards and accountability programs over the last decade, which have required students to take more challenging courses required for admission to college without pushing those students to drop out of high school.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ABOUT EDUCATION WORKING PAPERS

INTRODUCTION

PREVIOUS RESEARCH

METHOD

Calculating Public High School Graduation Rates

Calculating Public High School College-Readiness Rates

RESULTS

High School Graduation Rates for the Class of 2002

College-Readiness Rates for the Class of 2002

Comparing College-Ready Graduates with Students Actually Entering College

High School Graduation and College-Readiness Rates over Time

CONCLUSION

ENDNOTES

REFERENCES

Table 1: High School Graduation Rates for the Class of 2002

Table 2: Ranking the States by High School Graduation Rate

Table 3: Ranking States by White High School Graduation Rate

Table 4: Ranking States by African-American High School Graduation Rates

Table 5: Ranking States by Hispanic High School Graduation Rates

Table 6: College Readiness Rates by Region and State

Table 7: College Readiness Population Compared to Number of Students Who Entered College For First Time

Table 8: Total High School Graduation Rates by State, 19912002

Table 9: White High School Graduation Rates by State, 19972002

Table 10: African-American High School Graduation Rates by State, 19972002

Table 11: Hispanic High School Graduation Rates by State, 19972002

Table 12: Total College Readiness Rates by Region and State, 19912002

Table 13: White College Readiness Rates by Region and State, 19972002

Table 14: African-American College Readiness Rates by Region and State, 19972002

Table 15: Hispanic College Readiness Rates by Region and State, 19972002

 


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