Center for Public Education Releases Research on Late High School Graduates
Identifies Outcomes For Kids Who Graduate In More Than Four Years
Alexandria, Va. - February 11, 2009 - A new original research report released today by the Center for Public Education identifies the outcomes of students who take longer than four years to graduate high school compared to their peers who graduated on time, received GEDs or dropped out. The study examined outcomes related to postsecondary education, work, civic participation, and health. The report shows that while on-time graduation remains the best foundation for students the extra work late graduates and their schools put in toward earning a high school diploma pays off in every aspect of life.
The first of its kind, Better Late Than Never, examined data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, which followed a nationally representative sample of eighth graders through high school, college, and the workforce until the year 2000. The report found that late graduates do markedly better in all arenas than GED recipients and dropouts. Additionally, when the data is controlled to compare students of similar socioeconomic status and achievement level, late graduates come close to on-time graduates’ achievement.
Other findings include:
- Late graduates distinguish themselves not so much by enrolling in college, but in completing a degree. While they are not significantly more likely (59 percent) than GED recipients (51 percent) to enroll in college, they are much more likely to go on and obtain either an associates or bachelors degree.
- Late graduates are more likely than GED recipients and dropouts to be employed and to hold full-time jobs.
- Late graduates are significantly better off in terms of job benefits. Of the late graduates who were employed after 1994, close to two-thirds (63 percent) held a job that offered retirement benefits compared to just over half (53 percent) of GED recipients and less than half of dropouts (45 percent). Seventy-six percent of late graduates also had health insurance coverage compared to 66 and 61 percent of GED recipients and dropouts, respectively.
- Although late graduates are no more likely to be registered to vote than GED recipients, late graduates are significantly more likely to have voted in a recent election (40 percent versus 29 percent).
- Late graduates are more likely than GED recipients and dropouts to be non-smokers and to exercise more. There were no differences among the groups in drinking habits.
The Center for Public Education (www.centerforpubliceducation.org) is a national resource for credible and practical information about public education and its importance to the well-being of our nation. The Center provides up-to-date research, data, and analysis on current education issues and explores ways to improve student achievement and engage public support for public schools. The Center is a joint initiative of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and National School Boards Foundation.
The National School Boards Association (www.nsba.org) is a national federation of state school boards associations that represent more than 95,000 school board members who govern the nation’s public schools. The organization’s mission is to foster excellence and equity in public elementary and secondary education throughout the United States through local school board leadership.
Better Late Than Never can be read at: