NEWS RELEASES 2014-15 :: SEPTEMBER 4, 2014


Note: The statewide four-year cohort graduation rate has been updated to reflect data corrections as of Sept. 15, 2014

Since 2006, the first year the state reported a four-year cohort graduation rate, the percentage of students graduating from high school in four years or less has risen 15.6 percentage points – from 68.3 percent to 83.9 percent.

North Carolina's 2014 graduation rate of 83.9 percent is the highest recorded in the state's history.

The rise in graduation rates has occurred alongside changes that have led to more challenging standards and assessments and increased graduation requirements.

State Superintendent June Atkinson praised educators, students and their families for remaining focused on graduation as a goal. "In today's world, graduating from high school is a minimum requirement for students who hope to be competitive in the workplace. Congratulations to our students for their hard work.

"We will continue to focus efforts on boosting this rate at the state, local and school levels so that every student graduates from high school prepared to succeed," she said.

Students today are required to earn more course credits – a minimum of 22 – than prior groups of students were required to earn. Students who entered high school before 2009 had to successfully complete at least 20 credits to qualify for graduation. In addition, students today are expected to complete mathematics through Math III, or the equivalent of Algebra II, as a minimum.

Requirements for high school graduation have been gradually increasing over the past 20 years. Today, graduates must earn at least 22 credits as follows: English (four credits); Mathematics (four credits, through Math III plus a fourth math); Science (three credits); Social Studies (four to include Civics and Economics, World History, American History I: Founding Principles and American History II or AP US History); Health and Physical Education (one credit); six electives (which can include world languages, Career and Technical Education, JROTC, arts or other courses).

"A top priority of the State Board of Education is to ensure that high school diplomas are meaningful and aligned with the skills and knowledge that students need in college and in careers," said Board Chairman Bill Cobey. "It is good news that students are reaching higher standards and graduating in higher numbers as well."

While the minimum number of required course credits is 22 for high school graduates, many students earn more than the minimum. Most high schools operating on a block schedule or modified block schedule offer students the opportunity to earn up to eight course credits per year.

In addition to the four-year cohort graduation rate, North Carolina also reports a five-year cohort graduation rate. The five-year cohort graduation rate for 2014 is 84.9 percent.

As in past years, graduation rates by subgroups of students varied (see below). Female students posted a higher graduation rate than male students. Asian students had the highest rate and students who are considered limited English proficient had the lowest rate. The variation of graduation rates by subgroup ranges from 51.8 percent to >95 percent, signaling that efforts to address graduation rates need to be specifically targeted to particular student needs.

4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate – State of North Carolina Results by Subgroup
(2010–11 Entering Ninth Graders for 2014)  

All Students 109,869 92,106 83.9 82.5
Male 55,933 44,874 80.2 78.6
Female 53,936 47,232 87.6 86.6
American Indian 1,629 1,292 79.3 77.3
Asian 2,732 2,497 91.4 89.9
Black 30,010 23,933 79.8 77.5
Hispanic 12,034 9,304 77.3 75.2
Two or More Races 3,819 3,157 82.7 81.5
White 59,550 51,838 87.0 86.2
Economically Disadvantaged 47,895 37,334 77.9 76.1
Limited English Proficient 2,615 1,355 51.8 48.8
Students With Disabilities 10,381 6,687 64.4 62.3
Academically Gifted 18,219 - >95 >95

Subgroup information is based on data collected when a student is last seen in the cohort. The table reflects data as of Aug. 28, 2014.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.