A new analysis of high school completion finds that the national graduation rate has reached its highest point in two decades: 71.7 percent for the class of 2008, the most recent year for which data are available, Christopher B. Swanson reports at Education Week.

Although completion rates increased markedly across all groups in recent years, Asian and white students still graduated at significantly higher rates than their black, Hispanic and American Indian peers, according to the study by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center.

There also is a significant difference among states. The highest-ranking states–New Jersey, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin–each graduated more than 80 percent of their students, while Connecticut followed closely at 79.2 percent. At the other end of the scale, fewer than six in 10 students finished high school in the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and South Carolina.grad rates

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