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women and minorities
Introduction Chapter 1: Elementary and Secondary Education Chapter 2: Undergraduate Enrollment Chapter 3: Undergraduate Degrees Chapter 4: Graduate Enrollment Chapter 5: Graduate Degrees Chapter 6: Employment Technical Notes Appendix Tables
Chapter Contents:
Differences in coursetaking and achievement
Factors related to coursetaking and achievement
High school completion
Appendix Tables
List of Figures
Presentation Slides

Precollege Education

High school completion
Students with disabilities

A high school education is traditionally a prerequisite to access to higher education. Racial/ethnic and disability status differences in high school completion rates thus are likely to contribute to differences in college enrollment.

Females  top of page

Females are more likely than males to graduate from high school. Among 25- to 29-year-olds in 1999, 90 percent of females and 86 percent of males had graduated from high school. (See appendix table 1-19.)

Minorities  top of page

Although white students are more likely than black and Hispanic students to graduate from high school, gains in high school completion by blacks have narrowed the education gap. (See figure 1-4 figure.) In 1990, 90 percent of whites and 82 percent of blacks in the 25–29 age group had completed high school. By 1999, 93 percent of whites and 89 percent of blacks in that age range had completed high school. (See appendix table 1-19.)

Hispanics have the lowest high school completion rates and have experienced lower gains than blacks over time. In 1999, 62 percent of those in the 25–29 age group were high school graduates, an increase from 58 percent in 1990. The low high school completion rates can be partly attributed to the large number of foreign-born Hispanics who entered the United States without a high school education. The lower high school completion rates for blacks and Hispanics may also be related to family income. Youths between the ages of 18 to 24 who lived in families with low income levels were eight times more likely to drop out than those from families with high incomes (U.S. ED/NCES 1997c). The lower high school completion rate for Hispanics may also reflect language barriers.

Students with disabilities  top of page

Dropout rates vary by type of disability. Those with visual, hearing, speech, or mobility impairments were least likely to have dropped out in the 1997/98 school year among those exiting special education. (See appendix table 1-20.) Those with learning disabilities, mental retardation, and serious emotional problems were most likely to have dropped out.

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