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 90% of the 2017 cohort graduated in Essex County in 2021, the same rate as the state. This was a 13 percentage-point increase from 2006 for the county and a gain of 10 points for the state. Fourteen districts or schools in the county had graduation rates of 95% or higher and two reported graduating 99% of students - Lynnfield and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.
The lowest graduation rates were in Salem and Lawrence, both at 79%. Lawrence, however, had the largest gain since 2006, with a 38-point increase. There were also large increases at Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical (up 26 points to 98%), Lynn (up 20 points to 84%), Beverly (up 15 points to 92%) and Haverhill (up 15 points to 81%).
How do we compare to similar counties?
Essex County's rate was slightly lower than Westchester, NY (91%) and Middlesex, MA, which had a rate at 93% in 2021, a 5 percentage-point increase since 2006. 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).