High School Cohort Graduation Rate
What does this measure?
The number of students graduating after four years of high school, expressed as a percentage of their cohort. A cohort is a class of ninth-graders beginning high school in the same academic year.
Why is this important?
High school graduation is the culmination of a successful K-12 education and the gateway to college or employment. Students who do not graduate face the prospect of unemployment or low-paying jobs.
How is our county doing?
About 87% of the 2011 cohort graduated in Essex County in 2015, the same rate as the state. This was a 10 percentage-point increase from 2006 for the county and a gain of 7 points for the state. Ten districts in the county had graduation rates of 95% or higher and two districts reported graduating 99% of students - Lynnfield and Essex County North Shore Agricultural and Technical School District.
The lowest graduation rates were in the high-poverty districts of Lawrence (72%) and Lynn (75%). Lawrence, however, had the largest gain since 2006, with a 31-point increase. There were also large increases at Amesbury Academy Charter (up 29 points to 79%), Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical (up 23 points to 94%), and Salem School District (up 21 points to 89%).
Students from low-income backgrounds graduated at a somewhat lower rate, 79% in 2015, though that was up significantly from 61% in 2006. While 94% of Asian students and 92% of white students in the 2011 cohort graduated in 2015, rates were somewhat lower among African American and Hispanic students (82% and 76%). These disparities were comparable to rates at the state level among the same groups.
How do we compare to similar counties?
Essex County's rate was a bit lower than Middlesex, MA, which had a rate at 91% in 2015, a 3 percentage-point increase since 2006. Essex County was on par with Westchester, NY, with a rate of 88% in 2015. No data was immediately available for Lake, IL.
Notes about the data
Students are included in the cohort based on the year they entered Grade 9. Students are transferred in or out of cohorts if they transfer schools. Students who earn a GED or Certificate of Attainment are not counted as graduates. Students are considered economically disadvantaged if their family participates in one or more of the following state-administered programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC); the Department of Children and Families' (DCF) foster care program; or MassHealth (Medicaid).