DefinitionThe rate of students who began high school as a 9th grader and who then proceeded to graduate from high school 4 years later. In the case of transfers between school districts, a student's outcome was proportionally distributed among all school districts contributing to that student's outcome. The New Mexico Public Education Department calls this the Shared Accountability model.
NumeratorThe number of students that graduated from high school on time in a given year. This number is the total of all students and student fractions (in the case of transfers) for high school graduates, aggregated for each school district.
DenominatorThe total number of students. This number is a count of all students enrolled for any period of time during the 4 year period ending in the year shown.
Data Interpretation IssuesIn 2008, the New Mexico Public Education Department implemented the first 4-year cohort graduation rate, where each student was tracked from 9th grade through 12th grade. Prior to that time, a senior completion method that tracked 12th grade students only was used. Because these different calculation methods produce significantly different results, comparison and interpretation of results from 2008 and subsequent years to results from previous years should be made with extreme caution.
Why Is This Important?Education level is strongly related to health status for a variety of reasons. Education is associated with better earning potential and higher income which enables purchase of better housing in safer neighborhoods, healthier food, health insurance coverage and more timely medical care. Persons who have clear goals and a sense of control over their own lives tend to have both a higher education level and better health (Lachman & Weaner, 1998). Short-term health problems associated with not graduating from high school include substance use, pregnancy, and psychological, emotional, and behavioral problems. For adolescent females, teenage pregnancy is the leading reason for not graduating; an estimated 30% - 40% of female teenaged dropouts are mothers. Early parenting also affects young males who leave school to support a child. Mental illness and emotional disturbance also account for a significant proportion of students who don't graduate (Freudenberg & Ruglis, 2007).
Healthy People Objective: AH-5.1, Increase the proportion of students who graduate with a regular diploma 4 years after starting 9th gradeU.S. Target: 82.4 percent
Other ObjectivesNew Mexico Community Health Status Indicator (CHSI), New Mexico Early Learning Indicator