2016 Building a GradNation Report

Last Updated by Carly Weidman on

With the goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020 rapidly approaching, the release of the 2016 Building a GradNation report offers a national picture of our national progress, highlighting state high school graduation rate trends, with a focus on graduation rates for key groups of students.

Written annually by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, and released in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education, this report examines the progress and challenges the nation faces in reaching the GradNation goal of a national on-time graduation rate of 90 percent by the Class of 2020.

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According to the report, Indiana’s overall state high school graduation rate is 87.9%, only 2.1% away from reaching the 90% graduation rate goal. Indiana must graduate only 5,000 additional students in order to reach the 90% goal. In order to identify areas of strength and improvement, the report focuses on 4 key areas: low-income students, minority students, students with disabilities, and large school districts.

Low-Income Students

In Indiana, four out of ten students are low-income. This is slightly lower than the national average. Low-income students were found to be graduating at a rate of 85.3%, four points less than the graduation rate of their non-low-income peers.

Minority Students

Minority students saw a slight increase in graduation rates, with Hispanic students graduating 83.2%, an increase of 2.2%. The graduation rate of black students remains steady at 75%. The gap between the graduation rates of black and white students is 15.4 points, and the gap between Hispanic and white students is 7.2 points.

Students with Disabilities

Research has found that the majority of students with disabilities (SWD) can graduate on time with a regular diploma when given the right supports.  Students with disabilities make up 11.7 % of Indiana students, with a graduation rate of 73.4%. This leaves a gap of 16.4% in the graduation rate between students with disabilities and non-SWD students.

Indiana’s Largest School Districts

Indiana’s five largest school districts (Fort Wayne Community Schools, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, South Bend Community School Corporation, Indianapolis Public Schools, and Hamilton Southeastern Schools) account for 10.1 percent of the state’s total graduating cohort.  Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend, IPS, and Hamilton Southeastern saw average cohort graduation rate of 87%, 81%, 76%, 61%, and 94%, respectively.

Among high schools with more than 300 students, 18,724 students are enrolled at a high school with a graduation rate below 67%. Statewide, 20 high schools have a graduation rate below 67%.

The full report dives into the graduation rates of states, including where states are succeeding, and where attention needs to be focused.

Visit the GradNation website for more detailed information, including the full 2016 Building a GradNation report and Indiana’s State Report Card.  

What did you think of the information contained in the 2016 Building a GradNation report? What surprised you? How do you think Indiana should focus its efforts to support students and increase the statewide graduation rate? Share your thoughts and join the conversation on social media using #AmGradIndy and #GradNation.

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