High School Graduation
Goal: Each student graduates from high school ready for college and career.
High school graduation is associated with higher earnings, college attendance and graduation, and other measures of personal and social welfare. As college education increasingly becomes a necessity for upward mobility, graduating more students from high school is critical. High school graduation is not only a precursor to college enrollment; it is also a major indicator for earnings throughout adulthood. On average, high school graduates make at least $10,000 more annually than individuals who did not complete high school. Over a lifetime, high school graduates earn over half a million dollars more than their counterparts without a diploma. It is estimated that about one-third of high school students do not finish high school on time, if at all. This has tremendous repercussions for students and communities. Educational attainment, particularly high school graduation, has been shown to predict health, mortality, teen childbearing, marital outcomes, and crime. Increasing the educational attainment of one generation improves the next generation’s academic and social outcomes. In 2016, the four-year graduation rate for Minneapolis-Saint Paul was 65%, with significant gaps across race and income.
Generation Next Strategies
9th Grade On-Track: National data shows that 9th grade is a critical year for students; passing 9th grade coursework is more predictive of graduation than race or income. Generation Next partnered with Minneapolis and Saint Paul Public Schools to ensure students remain on track to graduate by the end of 9th grade. Minneapolis is in its third year of the On-Track initiative while Saint Paul is in its second. In each district, data is being compiled and provided to 9th grade teams in all high schools that detail which students are in danger of being off-track to graduate according to course passage, absences, and suspensions.
College and Career Readiness Networks: Both Minneapolis and Saint Paul Public Schools coordinate networks of college and career readiness (CCR) programs. Generation Next invested in both district data departments in order to evaluate these programs and better understand the services they provide to students. In addition, Generation Next convened college and career readiness organizations to explore alignment between their programs and district college and career curriculum.
Generation Next Accomplishments
• In 2016-2017, MPS saw strong positive improvements for the On-Track initiative; more 9th graders finished the year on track to graduate than the previous year (65% compared to 56%) and more passed all quarters of all core courses (70% compared to 62%).
• Overall the percentage of SPPS freshman losing 2 or more credits decreased in quarters 1 and 2 from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017; in addition, they had slightly higher percentages of courses passed.
• Evaluations of the college access networks (CANs) provided valuable information about student participation and access. In SPPS, a total of 3,476 students in grades 6 to 12 were served in 2014-2015 by at least one college access program; 13% of the students were in two or more programs. Over three-quarters of SPPS students (81%) in grades 6-12 were not being served by any of the 10 college access programs participating in the evaluation. In MPS, 11,802 students in grades 9-12 were served in 2015-2016 by at least one college access program; 14% of all 11-12th grade students, and 43% of 11-12th grade students who are eligible for most MPS CAN programs, were served by a Tier 3 program – an intensive intervention program. Fewer than 10% of students are in more than one Tier 3 program.