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Credit Recovery Changes Lives: The Importance of Graduation in the U.S.

Credit Recovery Changes Lives: The Importance of Graduation in the U.S.

High school graduation is of critical importance to the prospects of students in the United States. For many, the national graduation rate is the ultimate measurement of the effectiveness of the nation’s school system, which is why it is important to periodically check in with the available stations in the U.S. and to determine what can be done to make sure that every student has as bright a future as possible.

Graduation standings

According to the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, as of 2016, the country’s adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) stood at 84.1 percent, an increase of 5 percentage points over the previous five years. Analyzed on a state level, two states—Iowa and New Jersey—have achieved a graduation rate greater than 90 percent,  while the lowest-performing states have been the ones fueling the gains being made overall. In fact, the progress of those states, which feature large minority populations, has helped narrow national racial and income graduation rate gaps.

High stakes

According to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2016, the earnings of adults with a high school diploma or equivalent were 26 percent higher than those who did not complete high school. The percentage of young adults in the labor force working full time, year-round is higher for those with educational attainment. For example, 69 percent of young adult high school completers worked full time, year-round in 2016, compared with 60 percent of those without a high school diploma or an equivalent credential such as a GED.

There is a pronounced correlation between education and crime. For instance, there is almost a 70 percent chance that an African American man without a high school diploma will be imprisoned by his mid-30s. In 2010, the U.S. spent $80 billion on expenditures dealing with corrections at the federal, state, or local levels. That figure has nearly quadrupled in the past 30 years.

Path forward

To solve the dropout problem and achieve 100 percent graduation, innovative thinking needs to take place that leverages all available methods, including the latest advances in technology. Many schools are already using blended learning solutions to help students recover credits and help them stay on track for graduation.

An issue brief from the U.S. Department of Education states that, in 2014–15, 89 percent of high schools nationwide offer at least one credit recovery course to students, and 15 percent of the nation’s high school students participate in some type of credit recovery. But, there is room to grow, particularly in smaller and rural settings. Larger schools are 8 percent more likely to offer credit recovery than smaller schools.

More data on the efficacy of such programs continues to be made available on a regular basis. As we understand more about the approaches that best work for students, parents, and educators, it is apparent that we have the tools necessary to accomplish the goal of every student achieving a high school education.

Want to find out more about how Edmentum’s online solutions can support flexible learning and credit recovery to improve graduation rates? Check out this credit recovery solutions brochure!