How Many Students Really Graduate from High School? The Effects of Early Failure on Dropping Out
Nikolas D. Pharris-Ciurej, University of Washington
Charles Hirschman, University of Washington
Unit-record annual school enrollment data from 1994 to 2004 for a large school district on the West coast are used to develop an individual level longitudinal model of the process of high school completion. Although national estimates state that high school completion is universal, our analysis reveals that high school completion is not universal. The four year high school graduation rate is roughly 47% while the upper limit on the 6 year graduation rate is nearly 65%. Further, during the four years necessary to finish high school, more than half of the students are retained or the leave the school district prior to graduating. The ability to successfully adjust to the heightened academic expectations of high school is an important predictor of high school graduation.