Graduation rates appear to have plateaued in Central Texas. The four-year high school graduation rate for the class of 2019 was 91%, the same as the rate for the Class of 2015. 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 69% for the Class of 2009 to 90% for the Class of 2018. The four-year graduation rates for Black students increased from 72% for the Class of 2009 to 87% for the Class of 2018.
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 2018 was 87%, compared to a 96% graduation rate for moderate to high-income students, a gap of 9 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. School districts that experienced an improvement in graduation rates from 2015 to 2019 include Austin, Del Valle, Eanes, Lago Vista, Leander, and Round Rock. Lake Travis ISD and Manor ISD experienced a slight decline in graduation rate, while Pflugerville ISD’s high school graduation rate remained relatively stable over the five year period.
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 who demonstrated college readiness by meeting specific readiness criteria including Texas Success Initiative (TSI) criteria, earning dual course credits, meeting criteria on Advanced Placement (AP)/International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations, earning an associate’s degree prior to graduation, and earning OnRamps course credits.
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.