School & District Management Report Roundup

High School Graduation

By Catherine Gewertz — February 23, 2009 1 min read

Students who take five years to graduate from high school are nearly four times more likely to complete a college degree than those who obtain GEDs, according to a new analysis.

The Center for Public Education, a research arm of the National School Boards Association, issued a study on Feb. 11 that used data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 to compare the postsecondary experiences of students who took five years to finish high school, those who finished in four years, dropouts, and General Educational Development credential recipients.

The study found that the on-time graduates had the best outcomes. But the estimated 130,000, or 4.6 percent, who took five years fared better than those who dropped out or earned GEDs.

The late graduates were more likely to be employed, to hold full-time jobs, and to have jobs that offer retirement or health insurance benefits, among other outcomes, the study said.

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A version of this article appeared in the February 25, 2009 edition of Education Week

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