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Key Facts

The Diploma Dilemma: Setting Students Up For Success
Higher Graduation Rates
High school graduation rates have risen significantly in recent years. But they often don’t reflect better outcomes; instead states and school districts have lowered graduation requirements.
Lower Attainment
School districts use “Carnegie Credits” to measure academic progress toward a degree. These credits are based on the number of hours in a classroom, rather than actual learning outcomes, which means students may amass enough graduation credits without learning much.
Reversing the trend
Schools must focus on mastery of subjects rather than hours spent in the classroom. We need to close the gap between what students learn in high school and what they need to successfully pursue college, training, or work after graduation.
What to Do Next
Although the shift in focus might lower graduation rates in the short term, continuing on the current path is a costly charade that fails too many students. In contrast, focusing on and measuring proficiency will mean better jobs for high school graduates and more opportunities for them in the future.