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College & Workforce Readiness

Mapping Out High School Graduation

June 19, 2006 2 min read
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The EPE Research Center mapped 2002-03 graduation rates for public school districts across the nation. Low levels of graduation (shown in red) predominate in urban centers nationwide as well as in the largely rural communities of the South, Southeast, and Southwest. The national graduation rate is 69.6 percent. (Click image to enlarge.)

2002-2003 High School Graduation Rates by State

SOURCE: EPE Research Center, 2006

(Download a high-resolution printable version of this map (PDF; 9 MB; this is a large download) showing the district graduation rates and boundaries.)

NOTE: Map image courtesy of ESRI, a Redlands, Calif., company that designs and develops geographic information system (GIS) technology. District graduation rates were calculated by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center using the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) method. Graduation rates could be directly computed for districts serving 93 percent of all public school students in the country. In a small number of cases where values could not be directly calculated, the EPE Research Center estimated a rate based on a nationwide statistical analysis that takes into account graduation-rate patterns observed for other public school districts with similar characteristics.

How does the EPE Research Center calculate graduation rates?

Calculation Formula

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge: Calculation Formula

Diplomas Count uses the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) method to calculate graduation rates. The CPI estimates the probability that a student in the 9th grade will complete high school on time with a regular diploma. Graduating from high school is represented as a process rather than a single event. The CPI rate captures four key steps a student must take in order to graduate: three grade-to-grade promotions (9 to 10, 10 to 11, and 11 to 12) and ultimately earning a diploma (grade 12 to graduation). The formula below illustrates the CPI formula for calculating graduation rates for the class of 2002- 03, the most recent year of data available from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data.

Online Mapping Tool

Later this week, the online version of Diplomas Count will offer a powerful mapping tool – permitting users to zoom in on each of the nation’s school districts, and produce a standardized report that compares district, state, and national figures. Users will be able to navigate easily to school districts they are interested in analyzing, download reports that include maps and tables with relevant data, and see how their district compares with others in the state and nation.

See how the state graduation numbers look coming out of that application (click image to enlarge).

2002-2003 High School Graduation Rates by State

SOURCE: EPE Research Center, 2006

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