Common Data Project – 2020 Report
The six New England states have shared comparable data through the NESSC Common Data Project that demonstrate evidence of progress in secondary school outcomes. This report presents data trends across the region, as well as by state. The report also includes data disaggregated by student characteristics across six indicators, which allow us to examine educational equity in New England secondary school outcomes by economic disadvantage (ED), English learner status (EL), disability status, gender, and race/ethnicity.
Over the last decade, the region has seen some noteworthy gains. High school graduation rates across New England have been continuously trending up, and four-year graduation rates for many student groups have reached the NESSC target of 90%. Another positive trend is a reduction in the graduation rate gap between economically disadvantaged students and their non-economically disadvantaged peers. Moreover, the high school dropout rate for economically disadvantaged students has fallen by nearly half since 2009. However, the data also reveal persistent achievement gaps that disproportionally impact historically disadvantaged students. We examine achievement gaps for the region, as well as variations across states, in greater detail throughout the report.
Regionally, student achievement approaches, but has not yet met, targets for all high school and college outcomes. On average, NESSC states have not yet met the targets set by the Consortium for high school graduation (4-year) or high school dropouts; however, extended high school graduation (6-year) rates meet the 90% target. College enrollment rates, too, have not yet met targets set by the NESSC. And while students persist into the second year at high rates, college completion rates for most student groups fall well below the 80% target.
Averages Across New England (2019)
Note: The NESSC sets targets for each of the student achievement outcomes and monitors progress toward these targets annually
Gains and Remaining Gaps
Many student groups are approaching the NESSC targets for high school outcomes, but achievement gaps persist. Since 2009, notable gains have been made in improving high school graduation rates and reducing high school dropout rates; however, some groups of students complete high school at rates far below the average.
Economically disadvantaged students, English learners, students with disabilities, male students, and Black, Hispanic, Native American, and multiracial students across the region graduate high school at far lower rates as compared to their counterparts.
Disaggregating data by student characteristics, high school outcomes vary substantially:
Students with disabilities and English learners gain the most through the support of up to two extra years to graduate from high school, and economically disadvantaged, male, Black, multiracial, and Native American students all achieve extended graduation (6-year) rates above 80%.
College enrollment and completion, particularly for students historically underrepresented in postsecondary education, remain far from NESSC targets. No student subgroups have met the NESSC targets for college enrollment or completion, and the outcomes vary widely across subgroups.
While college enrollment rates for students historically underrepresented in postsecondary education – which includes economically disadvantaged students, English learners, students with disabilities and Black, Hispanic, and Native American students – have risen in recent years, an enrollment gap persists.
College enrollment rates for male students also continue to be lower on average as compared to female students.
Students demonstrate notable variations in their trajectories through postsecondary education. For example:
Once enrolled in college, many student groups meet the NESSC target for college persistence into the second year. High persistence rates may be one possible indicator that those who enroll in college are academically prepared for postsecondary education. However, persistence rates across the region have been trending down in recent years. Disaggregating college outcomes data also reveals that while certain student subgroups have met or exceed the NESSC target, others continue to lag behind:
It should be noted that college enrollment, persistence, and completion rates in this report are calculated based on the number of high school graduates who enroll in college. Gaps in college outcome rates for historically underrepresented groups are even more stark when we consider how high school outcomes impact a student’s long-term college and career trajectory. For example, in a hypothetical class of ninth-graders, the data suggests that for every 10 Asian/Pacific Islander students in that class, 9 will graduate high school and 8 will enroll in college. By contrast, for every 10 Black students in that class, only 8 will graduate high school and 5 will enroll in college. This trend continues with persistence in college; 7 Asian/Pacific Islander students will persist into a second year whereas only 3 Black students will do the same.
Many other comparisons are possible, and we encourage you to continue exploring the data. We hope this report will inform efforts to close persistent achievement gaps and promote greater educational equity and opportunity for all students.