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 2016 cohort graduated in Essex County in 2019, 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 one district reported graduating 99% of students - Georgetown.
The lowest graduation rates were in the high-poverty districts of Lawrence (71%) and Lynn (75%). Lawrence, however, had the largest gain since 2006, with a 30-point increase. There were also large increases at Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical (up 24 points to 96%), Haverhill School District (up 15 points to 81%), Beverly School District (up 13 points to 91%) and Salem School District (up 12 points to 81%).
Essex County's rate was lower than Westchester, NY (90%) and Middlesex, MA, which had a rate at 92% in 2019, a 8 percentage-point increase since 2009. 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).