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Abstract

Educational attainment is increasingly important to Indiana’s workforce and economy. Both high school graduation rate and postsecondary credential attainment must increase in order to meet future workforce demands. This research analyzed the most commonly tested graduation rate independent variables and applied eight of them (academic expenditures, attendance rate, community college attainment, discipline rate, free and reduced lunch, special education, student-teacher ratio, and vocational education) to both Indiana’s high school graduation rates and the college enrollment rates of these graduating seniors at the school corporation level. Data describing the graduating class of 2013 from 283 Indiana public school corporations were gathered from the Indiana Department of Education, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Indiana Office of Management and Budget, and United States Census Bureau. Using a least squares regression in Microsoft Excel, it was found that the most significant variables for high school graduation were academic expenditures, community college attainment, discipline rate, free and reduced lunch, and vocational education. This is consistent with the current body of knowledge in the field, as much of the variation in high school graduation rates is attributed primarily to socioeconomic, not academic or funding, variables. The most significant variables for the college-going rate were community college attainment, free and reduced lunch, and vocational education. These findings indicate a need for further research on socioeconomic factors impacting specifically high school students’ home environments, student engagement in the classroom and in extracurricular activities, data tracking students from primary school through the workforce, and data at the classroom and building levels.

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