In school year 2014–15, the adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students rose to 83 percent, the highest rate since the measure was first collected in 2010–11. In other words, more than 4 out of 5 students graduated with a regular high school diploma within 4 years of starting 9th grade. Asian/Pacific Islander students had the highest ACGR (90 percent), followed by White (88 percent), Hispanic (78 percent), Black (75 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (72 percent) students.

This indicator examines the percentage of public high school students who graduate on time, as measured by the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR). State education agencies calculate the ACGR by identifying the “cohort” of first-time 9th-graders in a particular school year. The cohort is then adjusted by adding any students who transfer into the cohort after 9th grade and subtracting any students who transfer out, emigrate to another country, or die. The ACGR is the percentage of students in this adjusted cohort who graduate within four years with a regular high school diploma. The U.S. Department of Education first collected the ACGR in 2010–11.


Figure 1. Adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students, by state: 2014–15

Figure 1. Adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students, by state: 2014–15

Reporting standards not met. The Alabama State Department of Education has indicated that their adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) data was misstated.
NOTE: The adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) is the percentage of public high school freshmen who graduate with a regular diploma within 4 years of starting 9th grade. The Bureau of Indian Education and Puerto Rico were not included in the United States 4-year ACGR estimate. The graduation rates displayed above have been rounded to whole numbers. Categorizations are based on unrounded percentages.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Consolidated State Performance Report, 2014–15. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 219.46.


The ACGR increased over the first 5 years in which it was collected, from 79 percent in 2010–11 to 83 percent in 2014–15. In other words, more than 4 out of 5 public school students received a regular high school diploma within 4 years of starting 9th grade. In 2014–15, the state-level ACGRs ranged from 69 percent in the District of Columbia and New Mexico to 90 percent in New Jersey and 91 percent in Iowa. Roughly two-thirds of states (34) reported graduation rates between 80 and 89 percent.


Figure 2. Adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students, by race/ethnicity: 2014–15

Click the figure to expandFigure 2. Adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students, by race/ethnicity: 2014–15

 Represents either the value reported by the state for the “Asian/Pacific Islander” group or an aggregation of values reported by the state for separate “Asian,” “Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander or Pacific Islander,” and “Filipino” groups.
NOTE: The adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) is the percentage of public high school freshmen who graduate with a regular diploma within 4 years of starting 9th grade. The Bureau of Indian Education and Puerto Rico were not included in United States 4-year ACGR estimates. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Consolidated State Performance Report, 2014–15. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 219.46.


In 2014–15, the ACGRs for American Indian/Alaska Native (72 percent), Black (75 percent), and Hispanic (78 percent) students were below the national average of 83 percent. The ACGRs for White (88 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islander (90 percent) students were above the national average. Across states, ACGRs for White students ranged from 74 percent in New Mexico to 94 percent in New Jersey and were higher than the overall national ACGR of 83 percent in 35 states and the District of Columbia. The rates for Black students ranged from 56 percent in Nevada to 85 percent in Texas. Texas was the only state in which the ACGR for Black students was higher than the overall national ACGR. The ACGRs for Hispanic students ranged from 66 percent in Minnesota and New York to 87 percent in Texas and were higher than the overall national ACGR in four states (Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas). For Asian/Pacific Islander students, ACGRs ranged from 76 percent in Vermont to 96 percent in Maryland and New Jersey and were higher than the overall national ACGR in 40 states. The ACGRs for American Indian/Alaska Native students ranged from 45 percent in Wyoming to 89 percent in New Jersey and were higher than the overall national ACGR in seven states (Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Texas).


Figure 3. Adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) of White and Black public high school students, by state: 2014–15

Click the figure to expandFigure 3. Adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) of White and Black public high school students, by state: 2014–15

Reporting standards not met. The Alabama State Department of Education has indicated that their adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) data was misstated.
The graduation rate gaps were calculated using the most precise graduation rates available for public use, which includes some rates rounded to one decimal place and some rates rounded to whole numbers. These gaps may vary slightly from those that would be calculated using unrounded rates.
NOTE: The adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) is the percentage of public high school freshmen who graduate with a regular diploma within 4 years of starting 9th grade. The Bureau of Indian Education and Puerto Rico were not included in the United States 4-year ACGR estimate. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Consolidated State Performance Report, 2014–15. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 219.46.


The national ACGR for White students (88 percent) was 13 percentage points higher than the national ACGR for Black students (75 percent) in 2014–15. White public high school students had higher ACGRs than Black public high school students in every state and the District of Columbia. Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin reported the largest gaps between White and Black students. In each of these five states, the ACGR for White students was at least 20 percentage points higher than the ACGR for Black students.


Figure 4. Adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) of White and Hispanic public high school students, by state: 2014–15

Click the figure to expandFigure 4. Adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) of White and Hispanic public high school students, by state: 2014–15

Reporting standards not met. The Alabama State Department of Education has indicated that their adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) data was misstated.
1 The graduation rate gaps were calculated using the most precise graduation rates available for public use, which includes some rates rounded to one decimal place and some rates rounded to whole numbers. These gaps may vary slightly from those that would be calculated using unrounded rates.
NOTE: The adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) is the percentage of public high school freshmen who graduate with a regular diploma within 4 years of starting 9th grade. The Bureau of Indian Education and Puerto Rico were not included in the United States 4-year ACGR estimate. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Consolidated State Performance Report, 2014–15. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, table 219.46.


States reported similar gaps in ACGRs between White and Hispanic public high school students. The national ACGR for White students (88 percent) was 10 percentage points higher than the national ACGR for Hispanic students (78 percent) in 2014–15. The ACGRs for White students were higher than the ACGRs for Hispanic students in every state and the District of Columbia. Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota reported the largest gaps between White and Hispanic students. In each of these four states, the ACGR for White students was at least 20 percentage points higher than the ACGR for Hispanic students.