New high school graduation study provides still more evidence: Minimum Age 18 for dropping out does not matter
A new study from the America’s Promise Alliance and several other organizations discusses states that were leaders and laggards in high school graduation rate trends between 2002 and 2009. The report’s listing of those leaders and laggards is interesting.
This first table shows data for the states that America’s Promise say had the biggest high school graduation rate increases.
Notice that the majority of these states still had an Age 16 minimum dropout age policy in place as of 2008.
Also, notice that while these states were making progress, many of them still had 2008-09 graduation rates below the national average, which probably makes it easier to improve.
This second table shows the states that experienced declines in their graduation rates between 2002 and 2009.
In fact, four of these states (highlighted in yellow) had an Age 18 law on the books way back in 2001.
Even more interesting, of the six states that had a graduation rate in 2008-09 below the national average, five had a minimum dropout age higher than 16 in place by 2008. Additionally, two of the four states that have had an Age 18 law since 2001 also had graduation rates in 2008-09 below the national average.
Certainly, this new analysis adds to my earlier work, which also shows an Age 18 law doesn’t guarantee better high school graduation rate performance.
Tech Note: I assembled the tables using AFGR data from:
State dropout Law ages came from this on line table from NCES.