The number of students graduating after four years of high school, expressed as a percentage of their cohort. A cohort is a class of ninth-graders beginning high school in the same academic year.
High school graduation is the culmination of a successful K-12 education and the gateway to college or employment. Students who do not graduate face the prospect of unemployment or low-paying jobs.
About 87% of the 2013 cohort graduated in Essex County in 2017, about the same rate as the state. This was a 10 percentage-point increase from 2006 for the county and a gain of 8 points for the state. Thirteen districts in the county had graduation rates of 95% or higher and two districts reported graduating 99% of students - Hamilton-Wenham and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical.
The lowest graduation rates were in the high-poverty districts of Lawrence (72%) and Lynn (74%). Lawrence, however, had the largest gain since 2006, with a 31-point increase. There were also large increases at Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical (up 22 points to 93%), Whittier Regional Vocational Technical (up 14 points to 99%), Haverhill School District and Salem School District (up 13 points to 80% and 82%, respectively).
Essex County's rate was lower than Westchester, NY (90%) and Middlesex, MA, which had a rate at 92% in 2017, a 4 percentage-point increase since 2006. No data was immediately available for Lake, IL.
Students are included in the cohort based on the year they entered Grade 9. Students are transferred in or out of cohorts if they transfer schools. Students who earn a GED or Certificate of Attainment are not counted as graduates. Students are considered economically disadvantaged if their family participates in one or more of the following state-administered programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC); the Department of Children and Families' (DCF) foster care program; or MassHealth (Medicaid).