We often help policymakers and educators understand the landscape of educational attainment in North Carolina, with a focus on high school completion rates and the transition to postsecondary programs. As part of this work, we focused on several questions related to North Carolina’s high school student population, including:
Over the past twelve years, the share of North Carolina 9th graders graduating high school in four years—also known as the on-time graduation rate—has steadily increased.
Our state’s on-time graduation rate steadily rose from 68.3% in 2006 to 86.5% in 2017. This rate dipped 0.2 percentage points to 86.3% in 2018, with small declines for most groups.
Despite these overall improvements in on-time graduation, this still means that more than one in every eight ninth graders (13.7%) dropped out or did not complete high school within four years. For the 120,000 students who began 9th grade in 2014, this means that 16,450 did not receive a diploma on time. Students who are held back or have a break in their high school enrollment are more likely to dropout.
According to the most recent state evaluation (2017–18), most students dropped out in 10th grade (30%), followed by 9th grade (27%), 11th grade (25%), and 12th grade (15%). The most commonly cited reason for dropout was attendance issues (47%), followed by unknown (9.5%).* Other reasons for dropout included lack of engagement (7.5%), choosing work over school or needing employment (7.1%), academic problems (3.1%), and incarceration in an adult facility (2.1%).
Earning a high school diploma is associated with general economic, social, and health benefits. Compared with adults without a high school degree, high school graduates
Successfully attaining a high school diploma is a necessary step in the transition to either college or gainful employment. Earning a high school equivalency credential, like the GED, is not the same as a high school diploma. Compared to high school graduates, individuals with a GED earn less in the labor market and are less likely to go to college. The high school diploma is more than an indicator of academic knowledge; it is also a barometer of the individual’s capacity to stick with a task and other soft skills that may be harder to quantify.
Next up: What are outcomes for Career & Technical Education (CTE) graduates in North Carolina?
Need help understanding population change and its impacts on your community or business? Carolina Demography offers demographic research tailored to your needs.
Contact us today at email@example.com for a free initial consultation.Contact Us
Our material helped the NC Local News Lab Fund better understand and then prioritize their funding to better serve existing and future grant recipients in North Carolina. The North Carolina Local News Lab Fund was established in 2017 to strengthen…
The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS), which serves over 160,000 students, is the largest public school district in North Carolina. To better prepare for school siting needs, WCPSS asked Carolina Demography to project long-range forecasts (10-year) of school enrollment…
Alamance Community College (ACC) is a public community college with campuses in Graham, North Carolina and Burlington, North Carolina. They asked Carolina Demography to help them understand what they would need to know in order to plan for recruitment, enrollment…
Your support is critical to our mission of measuring, understanding, and predicting population change and its impact. Donate to Carolina Demography today.