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Achieving higher levels of attainment depends on the participation and advancement of students at each step in our state’s education system, from early childhood through high school and postsecondary education. A high school diploma, which is the culmination of four years of academic work, is critical to determining a student’s future educational attainment and career progression.

Washington’s changing demographics reveal opportunity gaps in K-12 education. Without a concerted effort to improve completion rates for all students, Washington runs the risk of seeing its overall graduation rate decline. The state cannot reach its overall attainment goals if the opportunity gap persists.

Despite these gaps, the past ten years offer some hope. Washington’s graduation rate rose because of greater attention paid to the needs of growing student populations that have not been traditionally well-served in the education system.

Washington can rise to the challenge to support excellent schools and increased high school completion. Knowledge about critical junctures in students’ progression toward graduation helps in tailoring policies that reduce or eliminate barriers. Further, the early success of programs like the College Bound Scholarship shows that the “pull” of college and postsecondary pathways can work together with the “push” of dropout prevention programs to help all students succeed. 

High School Dashboards

Cumulative Graduation Rate Change

High school graduations rates are improving.   Despite these improvements, large gaps between racial/ethnic groups continue for some populations.[1] It is critical to address these gaps, especially since the majority of growth in the K-12 population is among students of color.[i]

Percentage Point Change in High School Graduation Rates

SourceDropout and Graduation Reports, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (January 2018). Next Update: Winter 2019.

Explore detailed data at OSPI's Performance Indicators dashboards
OSPI

High School Graduation Rates Over Time

While most racial and ethnic subgroups’ four-year and five-year graduation rates improved, historically underserved student populations made notable gains. Despite these improvements, large gaps between racial/ethnic groups continue for some populations.

Adjusted Cohort High School Graduation Rate

SourceDropout and Graduation Reports, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (January 2018). Next Update: Winter 2019.

Explore detailed data at OSPI's Performance Indicators dashboards

OSPI

Other Pathways to High School Attainment: Diplomas from Community Colleges and Alternative Credentials

The number of students taking, completing, and passing high school equivalency tests dropped dramatically following the introduction of a new GED exam. Alternatives to the GED are expanding, including the High School 21+ program offered at community and technical colleges and students who receive a high school diploma and associate degree concurrently.

Other High School Credentials Awarded in Washington State

Sources: GED data from the Education tables from OFM Washington State Data Book, High School Diplomas as reported on SBCTC Academic Year Report (March 2018). Next Update: Fall 2018.

Notes: * Total GED includes GED© high school equivalency certificates awarded at Washington Community and Technical Colleges and other testing centers including four-year colleges/universities, public school systems and others.