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.
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.
About 87% of the 2013 cohort graduated in Essex County in 2017, slightly lower than the state. This was a 10 percentage-point increase from 2006 for the county and a gain of 8 points for the state. Thirteen districts in the county had graduation rates of 95% or higher and two districts reported graduating 99% of students - Hamilton-Wenham School District and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical.
Students from low-income backgrounds graduated at a somewhat lower rate, 78% in 2017, though that was up significantly from 61% in 2006. While 94% of Asian students and 93% of white students in the 2013 cohort graduated in 2017, rates were somewhat lower among African American and Hispanic students (84% and 76%). These disparities were comparable to rates at the state level among the same groups.
Essex County's rate was a bit lower than Middlesex, MA, which had a rate at 92% in 2017, a 4 percentage-point increase since 2006. No data was immediately available for Lake, IL or Westchester, NY.
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).