Hispanics Make Progress Toward Closing Equity Gap in Graduation Rates

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Hispanic Student And Family Celebrating Graduation

Recently released data show that overall high school graduation rates in the United States reached record highs this year, with Latinos making significant gains in closing the equity gap.

According to a new report, titled The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2015: Hispanic Students, national graduation rates rose 4 percent, from 79 to 83 percent, over the past five years. Meanwhile Hispanic students’ graduation rates increased 7 percent — from 71 to 78 percent — over the same time period.

Produced in collaboration by The Hechinger Report and ACT, the report also showed that along with their graduation rates, Latino students’ educational aspirations are growing as well.

Currently, about 15 percent of Latino adults in the U.S. have a bachelor’s degree or higher; however, the study found that 41 percent of Hispanic students who took the ACT said they hope to earn a bachelor’s degree, and 34 percent said they aim to earn a graduate or professional degree.

The report also found that students who took recommended core curriculum courses — four years of English and three years of math, science, and social studies — in high school were better prepared for college classes than those who did not take those classes. Furthermore, Hispanic students with an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math fields were more academically prepared for college than those with an interest in other fields.

Yet while Hispanic students’ college preparedness is on the rise, they still lag behind their white peers, whose rates are double that of their own.