Graduation rates continue trending upward in Central Texas. The four-year high school graduation rate for the class of 2017 was 90%, compared to 88% for the Class of 2013. Central Texas has maintained a higher graduation rate than the State since 2012.
Although disparities exist by race and ethnicity, the gap has closed over the last ten years, and all racial and ethnic groups have seen improvements. Hispanic students have seen graduation rates improve the most—from 65% for the Class of 2008 to 89% for the Class of 2017. The four-year graduation rates for Black students increased from 66% for the Class of 2006 to 87% for the Class of 2017.
Gaps in graduation rates by income have narrowed in recent years, although disparities persist. The E3 Alliance reports that the graduation rate for low-income students in the Class of 2017 was 86%, compared to a 96% graduation rate for moderate to high-income students, a gap of 10 percentage points. This gap has narrowed since the Class of 2007, when only 60% of low-income students graduated, compared to 88% of non-low-income students, a gap of 28 percentage points.
Graduation rates for area districts have improved over time. In general, school districts listed in this graph have seen an improvement in graduation rates from 2012 to 2016, except for the Del Valle School District, which has remained relatively stable. Lago Vista ISD started with the highest graduation rate, with 100% of students in the Class of 2016 graduating, but by 2016 Pflugerville ISD had topped the list. Manor ISD had the greatest improvement, with high school graduation rates increasing from 79% in 2012 to 89% in 2016.
More than half of Austin ISD students graduate high school meeting the State’s “college ready” standard. The college readiness indicator in the most recent Texas Academic Performance Report is defined as the percentage of graduates that meet or exceed the college ready criteria on the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA), the SAT test, or the ACT test. The TSIA measures college readiness to determine whether students are ready for college level work. In previous years, the indicator had been calculated using senior year TAKS scores. Thus, caution must be used in comparing Class of 2015 and 2016 rates to previous years.
Pathways of Promise (POP) is an initiative designed to strengthen career and math pathways to help students succeed in college and careers. By partnering with school districts and colleges, E3 Alliance is working to place minority and low-income students in Algebra I by 8th grade, increasing their chances of earning a post-secondary degree. E3 plans to expand POP in the region through 2018.
Students who attend school regularly and who do not change schools during the school year are more likely to graduate on time. “Missing School Matters” is a partnership of multiple partners focused on improving school attendance. The goal is to increase attendance by an average of three school days per student. The State of Texas funds schools based their Average Daily Attendance, so this increase in attendance would increase state funding to Central Texas schools by $34 million.