High school graduation rates are now showing signs of rebounding

Other data shows that nearly one-third of schools reported greater difficulty filling vacant positions in career and technical education compared to other social studies and other subjects, new data confirms.

COVID-19 kept many students out of school, but did it keep students from graduating? New national data gives us the answer, confirming that graduation rates fell during the pandemic. However, we’re now seeing a glimpse of recovery.

Data released last week by the National Center for Education Statistics reveals an uptick in the national graduation rate to 87% by the 2021-22 school year, the first full year back to the classroom for many schools after lockdowns. During the first full year of the pandemic—2019-20 to 2020-21—rates fell by 0.4 percentage points.

Despite this temporary dip, the average graduation rate is a significant improvement from what it was a decade ago. By the 2011-12 school year, the graduation rate was 80%.

“We continue to witness important shifts in enrollment—and in so many other facets of the educational experience for American families,” NCES Commissioner Peggy Carr said in a statement. “Having this comprehensive resource—whether the topic is enrollment, teacher turnover, career and technical education, even international comparisons—is powerful.”

Additional data

Aside from tracking high school graduation rates, the NCES gathered several other key metrics designed to reflect the current K12 landscape, from enrollment to career and technical education participation.

Here’s a look at that data to get you up to speed:

Public school enrollment

  • PreK12 enrollment grew by 0.4% in fall 2022 compared to the previous year. Yet, it’s still 2% below fall 2019 figures.
  • 39% of 3- to 5-year-olds are enrolled in public school; 20% are enrolled in private school (this includes homeschooling).

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Career and technical education

  • In 2020-21, 31% of public schools hiring for at least one teaching position reported difficulty hiring open positions in CTE, which was greater than levels of difficulty reported in hiring other positions such as social studies, physical education or health.
  • A higher percentage of high school CTE-concentrated students than non-concentrators received their associate’s degree in a CTE field (58% and 45% respectively).
    • This data reflects 2009 9th-graders who graduated public school in 2013 and received an associate’s degree as their highest credential by June 2021.
Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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