Sammy Nickalls
June 09, 2015 12:00 pm

It’s graduation season, and though that’s some pretty sweet cause for celebration, it’s also a time of reflection. A super important thing to reflect on: How many US students graduate from high school, and how many drop out.

Good news: The national graduation rate is a whopping 81%, an all-time high (in fact, our president even pointed that out in his State of the Union address this January). But even though 81 is a pretty solid number, that still means that 19% of high school students drop out before they’re able to earn their diploma. So what’s the story behind the other 19%? NPR decided to answer just that by conducting a nation-wide analysis to see which states have been changing in terms of their high school grads — and what they’re doing to help their students graduate. The results are nothing short of fascinating.

According to NPR, between April 2011 and April 2013, the majority of states have shown higher graduation rates — hooray! But it’s tricky, because every state is different. That’s why NPR is allowing you to look up your home state and see what your high school graduation rate is… as well as your state’s ranking compared to other states, diplomas offered in your state, average ACT and SAT scores, and more.

For example, my home state is Pennsylvania. After selecting PA from the dropdown menu, I found out that my state is pretty darn good in terms of HS grads!

I also found out that’s really not difficult to get a PA diploma. . .

. . . and although not that many Pennsylvanians take the ACT, almost three quarters take the SAT (though less than half of them get a score above the College Board’s standards).

However, more information provided by NPR on Pennsylvania’s high graduation rate showed me that this number may not last long. In 2017, students will have to take various subjects to graduate that are deemed to be “difficult,” such as literature, algebra, and biology.

So why does all this matter? It’s essential to keep in the know about your state, and what education laws are doing for you as a student. You deserve to know what tools your state is giving you and your peers. . . and what tools you’re NOT being given. It’s frightening to see these black-and-white statistics, but it’s so important to know what the graduation rate in your state is — and what can be done to make that rate even better.

So where does your state stand? Select yours on the drop-down menu here and find out. Don’t forget to scroll all the way down for a link to an article on the coverage in your state.

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