Eye-Opening Stats about High School and College Dropouts

Jul 16, 2015 by

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by Chad Aldeman

With Congress busy debating the future of federal education policy, here’s a thought-provoking statistic: American adults in the 1940s had about the same odds of being a high school graduate as today’s Americans have of being a college graduate.

Beyond the pure shock value of this dramatic shift, it begs the question of whether the two rates will grow at the same rates. Will we boost college attainment rates in this century as fast as we increased high school attainment in the last century?

So far, they’re relatively close mirrors of each other. In 1910, 13.5 percent of American adults had a high school diploma. Forty years later, that figure had risen 21 percentage points. In 1975, 13.9 percent of American adults had a bachelor’s degree. 38 years later, that figure had risen 18 percentage points.

The graph below shows how these two trend lines look remarkably similar. The key question is what will happen next.

chad college-hs completion

 

We already know what happened to high school attainment rates. We shifted from relatively slow progress through the first half of the 1900s into a much faster rate of growth between 1950 and 1980. In those 30 years, the percentage of American adults with a high school diploma or GED (General Education Diploma) doubled from 34.3 percent to 68.6 percent. Today we’re inching toward 90 percent of our adult population with a high school diploma or GED.

Source: Eye-Opening Stats about High School and College Dropouts – Education Reform Now

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Ned

    With lower and lower standards, WHY is this so “eye opening”?

    Group work or “collaborative” work, pulls the DUMB ones along and teachers love it with LESS work to grade. Back in the early 1900 standards were HIGHER and INDIVIDUALS were educated. Today we have cogs on a wheel with low standards.

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