U.S. high school graduation rate at record high — but there's room to improve

President Barack Obama greets students after speaking at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, where he highlighted the steady increase in graduation rates. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The nation's high school graduation rate has reached a record 83.2 percent, continuing a steady increase that shows improvement across all racial and ethnic groups, according to federal data released Monday. The Obama administration said the graduation rate has risen by about 4 percentage points since the 2010-2011 school year. President Obama, during a visit to a high school in the District of Columbia, welcomed the higher rate as good news but said the gains come against a backdrop of decreasing scores on national math and reading tests.

We live in a global economy. And the best jobs are going to go to the people who are the best educated, whether in India or China or anywhere in the world.

President Obama

Last year, math scores for fourth and eighth graders dropped for the first time in 25 years on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card. Reading scores were not much better: flat for fourth graders and lower for eighth graders compared with 2013. Average scores on SAT and ACT college entrance exams have also shown declines. Obama said too many states have cut education funding and many still aren't working seriously to raise learning standards.

Summarized by



Grad rates

Asian-Americans had a 90.2 percent graduation rate, while whites were at 87.6 percent, followed by Hispanics at 77.8 percent, African-Americans at 74.6 percent and Native Americans at 71.6 percent, according to data from the federal government.

National Assessment of Educational Progress

The National Assessment of Educational Progress(NAEP) is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what American students know and can do in various subjects. NAEP is a congressionally mandated project administered by the National Center for Education Statistics(NCES), within the Institute of Education Sciences(IES) of the U.S.