This website was supported by contract number ED-IES-12-C-0003, the 2012-2017 Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest. Funding for this contract has expired and this website is no longer being maintained. Please visit the new RELNW website for more information.

High School and Beyond

student writing in full classroom

Increasing graduation rates and preparing students for postsecondary success

High schools in our region face conflicting pressures—on the one hand to increase the number of students who graduate, and on the other hand, to increase the requirements for earning a diploma so students will be better prepared for college, careers, and community life. These pressures are rooted in genuine concerns. In 2009–10, more than two fifths of all Northwest public high school students failed to graduate in four years with a regular diploma, placing them at risk for higher rates of unemployment and lower wages. Even when students complete high school, college attendance rates in our region are at or below 50 percent, and many of the students who do attend are ill prepared, lagging behind national averages for the successful completion of Advanced Placement coursework and in their performance on the ACT.

For these reasons, several research alliances have identified the need to improve secondary education—including increasing academic performance, dropout prevention, transitions to postsecondary education, and college or career readiness—as a critical priority.


For customized assistance related to this priority area, contact REL Northwest’s reference librarian, Jennifer Klump.