High School Graduation


Earning a high school diploma is a crucial component to future academic success. It is estimated that students who drop out of high school earn nearly $7,500 less per year, are more likely to report poor health outcomes later in life, and are more likely to be institutionalized than their peers who finish high school. Perhaps an even more compelling fact is that almost two-thirds of jobs will require some postsecondary education or training by 2018, making high school graduation a necessity.

Focused on creating a brighter future for our students, Arizona has implemented measurable goals that hold our students, teachers, administrators, and schools accountable to higher standards in order to achieve improved results. As part of its education reform plan, Arizona has set a goal of achieving an on-time high school graduation rate of 93% by 2020.

Actions at the State and Local Levels:

In order to ensure that Arizona children are prepared to succeed in high school and beyond, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards in 2010 in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Mastery of these new standards will be measured by a more rigorous state assessment that will replace AIMS, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.

In addition, data on student academic progress is now included in the reformed evaluation system for school leaders and teachers. These reforms are adding accountability into Arizona’s education system, which will hold our students, teachers, administrators, and schools accountable to higher standards in order to foster student growth and future success.

Additional Actions to Consider:

Stakeholders can focus on ways to improve the relevancy of instruction in high school and middle school which will help to improve high school graduation rates in Arizona. At a local level, school districts and charter schools can increase access to relevant, integrated pathway programs by expanding the use of dual-credit, concurrent enrollment, and industry credential programs. Forming strategic partnerships with local businesses can help to identify growing career sectors and key areas of student interest, as well as provide meaningful work-like experiences for students. Schools can also look at providing flexibility in the awarding of course credits. In addition, school districts and charter schools can fully implement Education and Career Action Plans (ECAPs), install early-warning data systems that identify at-risk students, and provide information on growing career fields to students and parents.

At a state level, Arizona policy-makers can work to expand the number of state-approved CTE programs that award core academic credit and provide incentives to expand effective drop-out prevention and recovery programs. The state can also assess its school financing structures to remove barriers that prevent more schools from providing early college and workforce training opportunities at little or no cost to students.

In addition, research shows that effective teachers and leaders are the largest in-school contributors to student learning and achievement. It is clear that no education reform initiative will be successful without highly effective teachers and school leaders. Therefore, the state should consider ways to attract and retain top-quality talent in Arizona’s education system.

Our Goals

3rd Grade Reading
8th Grade Mathematics
High School Graduation
Associate's Degrees & Certificates
Bachelor's Degrees