High School Graduation

Percent of Arizona high school students graduating in 4 years.


Arizona Department of Education, 2021 Graduation Rate Report.

Arizona Department of Education, 2021 un-redacted, de-identified data aggregated to the school, county, and state level for all public schools in Arizona.

Included in this number

Students in district and charter high schools that graduated within four years.

Not included in this number

In brief

High school graduation numbers for 2020-2021 are provided by the Arizona Department of Education. Four-year graduation rates are reported and broken down by county, ethnicity, poverty status, limited English proficiency, and disability status.

Typically, data are suppressed if cell count is less than 11 prior to the Arizona Department of Education making the data publicly available on its website. For a more detailed analysis of 2020-2021 graduation rates, a data sharing agreement was established to allow the Center for the Future of Arizona to access data prior to suppression by the Arizona Department of Education. The school level data were analyzed and aggregated from the school level to the municipal level without suppression rules. If cell counts were still less than 11 after aggregation to municipal level, then suppression was applied prior to reporting of the data. This analysis of data without suppression on the front end allowed for a more thorough understanding of graduation rates in small municipalities such as Globe and Grand Canyon Village.

Detailed methods

This is a direct download from the Department of Education’s Accountability & Research website. Please see the section ‘School Geography’ for information on how geographies were determined for each school.

The unredacted data were obtained through a data sharing agreement with Arizona Department of Education. Data were aggregated to municipal and county level and graduation rate was calculated. Data were then suppressed if cell counts were fewer than 11.

To improve data accuracy, schools identified as fully virtual by the National Center for Education Statistics were removed from county aggregations and placed in a location named “Virtual County”. This prevents the occasion where students who attend school remotely, and may not be physically located in the county from being assigned where they may not live.

School geography

To provide data to municipalities on local education conditions and trends, data that is usually released at the school or district level was converted to county and municipal level data. This process provides a picture of how both district and charter schools in a geographic area are performing.

In Arizona, school district boundaries do not necessarily follow city and town boundaries, and charter schools are free to locate where they please. Additionally, Arizona is an open-enrollment state, meaning that students can enroll in a school that is in a different town from where they reside, and there are an increasing number of online ‘virtual’ schools that may have an office in a certain city, but the students have no particular connection to the city. A final complication is that a school’s street address does not necessarily conform to the physical city in which it resides. For example, Marana High School is located within the Marana town limits. However, it has a Tucson street address even though the Tucson city limits are over 10 miles distant.

To resolve these conflicts, a shapefile containing the geography of Arizona municipalities (downloaded from the US Census Bureau) was imported into ArcGIS. This file contains the boundaries of incorporated cities and towns,   as well as Census Designated Places (CDP), which are recognized unincorporated population centers such as Sun City and Mayer.

From the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) the following were downloaded:

The latitude and longitude were used to map all schools in ArcGIS, and a spatial join was performed with the Census Bureau shapefile to determine the city, town, or CDP that each school is located in.

Schools that NCES identified as virtual schools were labeled as such and not assigned to any municipality.

Schools located on unincorporated county land and not in a CDP were individually examined, and assigned to a municipality based on the proximity of the school and district to neighboring areas.

Schools that were remote from population centers as defined by the Census Bureau are listed as “unallocated.”