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Building a Grad Nation

About the #GradNation Campaign

Our Goal

To increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by the Class of 2020 and put millions more young people on the path to adult success.

What we do

The GradNation campaign brings focus and energy, research and best practices, national attention and a broad coalition to the graduation challenge. For those working to increase high school graduation rates, GradNation provides data, insight and analysis; information about effective and promising practices; plus opportunities to connect and learn from one another.

Who we are

Four organizations – America’s Promise Alliance, the Alliance for Excellent Education, CIVIC, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education – lead the campaign, and hundreds more play critical roles nationally, in states and in communities.

Follow this link to visit the GradNation website.

2021 Building a Grad Nation Report

For over a decade, the GradNation campaign has focused the nation on improving high school graduation rates for all students to reach a 90 percent graduation rate equitably by 2020. Steady progress has been made, with 15 consecutive years of increasing graduation rates and, in 2019, the nation reached another all-time high graduation rate of 85.8 percent. Since 2000, 4.5 million more students have graduated from high school on-time rather than leaving school without a diploma.

The first section of this report will explore these high school graduation trends across the nation in greater depth, examining progress to date. It also charts a path forward to realize the highly achievable gains necessary to reach a 90 percent graduation rate.

Even more encouraging than national trends is the fact that progress has been driven by historically marginalized student populations. Black, Hispanic, and low-income students have all out-paced increases in the national graduation rate. Though shrinking, equity gaps do remain and reaching a 90 percent graduation rate with equity will require recommitting to improving outcomes for underserved students, including students with disabilities, English Learners, and students experiencing homelessness.

In the second section, this report explores reaching a 90 percent graduation rate for all students, highlighting both the continued improvement of historically marginalized student subgroups and the equity gaps that linger. In addition, we analyze the high schools where on-time graduation remains elusive.

Next year, the National Center of Education Statistics will release data on the class of 2020. The 2020 school year, however, has become a pivotal year for an entirely different reason—it was ground zero for disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students, educators, and policymakers continue to reckon with the pandemic and the challenges it has brought. The impact of the pandemic will be studied for years to come, but the next year’s data will help grow the understanding of what schools went through. For this reason, the work of the GradNation campaign is more important than ever before.

States must use strong data to inform evidence-based decisions to support students as they continue to deal with the fallout from COVID-19. To help in this effort, the third section of this report shares data for states to develop Meeting the Moment Plans that center historically underserved students and communities, targeting the districts with the greatest level of student need and the highest concentration of students falling off-track to graduate. These data are based on 50 state profiles that accompany the release of this report and examine each state’s remaining challenge in graduating students ready for college and career.

Throughout, the report also highlights best practice in improving high school graduation rates and college and career readiness, explores the emerging data on the impacts of COVID-19, and features evidence-based policy options.

Follow this link for the full report.

To access state and district data and other #GradNation resources, please visit:  https://www.americaspromise.org/report/2021-building-grad-nation-report 

Past Reports

Reports are updated annually. Choose any of the previous reports below to learn more about Building a Grad Nation.