Mo. lands in top 10 for graduation rates, while Ill. falls toward the bottom

Posted by Aja Williams on

Although Missouri has made significant progress in increasing the graduation rate  -- to become one of the top states in the country -- the state of Illinois still has much work to do, according to the 2015 Building a Grad Nation report released Tuesday.

The national graduation rate stands at 81.4 percent, which is an 11 percentage point gain over the past 10 years, according to Civic Enterprises CEO John Bridgeland.

In Missouri, the adjusted cohort graduation rate stands at 85.7 percent, which is a 4.7 percentage point gain since 2011-2013, according to the report. On the other side of the river, Illinois stands at 83.2 percent with little to no change for the same time period.

Just like the national percentages, both states have work to do in the areas of getting closing the graduation rate gap between minority and white students.

For example, the graduation rate for white students stands at 89 percent for Missouri and Illinois, but that number drops to 72 and 70.9 percent, respectively, for African-American students.

The difference between Hispanic and white students in both states seems to be a bit closer with a difference of 13 percentage points in Illinois and 8 percentage points in Missouri.

Dr. Robert Balfanz, research scientist at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University, estimated that 310,000 more graduates are needed in the class of 2020 to reach the 90 percent graduation rate. 

For Illinois, that breaks down to more than 10,845 students with the largest subgroups coming from the African-American and low-income communities. In Missouri, more than 2,800 students are needed to graduate to reach the percentage with the same subgroups needed.

To read the full report, click on 2015 Building a Grad Nation report.

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