Increase the proportion of high school students who graduate in 4 years — AH‑08 Data Methodology and Measurement

About the National Data


Baseline: 84.1 percent of students attending public schools graduated with a regular diploma 4 years after starting 9th grade in school year 2015-16

Target: 90.7 percent

Number of students who earned a regular high school diploma by the end of the school year 4 school years after starting 9th grade for the first time.
Number of first-time 9th graders in the fall of that school year (starting cohort) plus students who transferred in, minus students who transferred out, emigrated, or died during that school year and the 3 subsequent school years.
Target-setting method
Percentage point improvement
Target-setting method details
Percentage point improvement from the baseline using Cohen's h effect size of 0.20.
Target-setting method justification
Trend data were evaluated for this objective, but it was not possible to project a target because the Healthy People 2030 Workgroup Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) viewed the projected target as unrealistic. A percentage point improvement was calculated using Cohen's h effect size of 0.2. This method was used because of the steady improvement over the past decade. Additionally, the SMEs anticipated an upward trend in high school graduation rates.


Methodology notes

The on-time high school graduation rate measures the percent of high school students that graduate within 4 years of starting ninth grade. The four-year regulatory adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) is used for this measure. The ACGR is defined as the number of students who graduate in four years or less with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class. In order to calculate and report the 4-year ACGR, states must follow the progress of each individual 9th-12th grade student over time and maintain documentation of students who enter or leave schools or districts within their state. From the beginning of ninth grade (or the earliest high school grade), students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is "adjusted" by adding any students who subsequently transfer into the cohort from another state and subtracting any students who subsequently transfer out, emigrate to another country, or die.


Comparable HP2020 objective
Retained, which includes core objectives that are continuing from Healthy People 2020 with no change in measurement.

1. Effect size h=0.2 was chosen to correspond with 20% improvement from a baseline of 50%.