High School Graduation Rates in the United States and the Impact of Adolescent Romance

by Chung Pham

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This document reviews the controversy over the true high school graduation rate in the United States, provides a comprehensive review of the debate, discusses shortcomings of current methods, and proposes new methods that address those shortcomings. The author concludes that current methods that are widely used are flawed: High school graduation rates in the United States are well above 80 percent, with high racial disparity; the graduation rates for white and Asian students are around 85 percent, and the rates for Hispanic and African American students are around 70-80 percent. Moderate dating has a positive impact on college readiness and college enrollment; serious dating and early sex has a significant negative impact on graduation and college enrollment.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    A Review of the High School Graduation Rate Debate in the United States

  • Chapter Three

    Trends and Projections of High School Graduation Rates in the United States by 2015

  • Chapter Four

    Evaluating Impact of Early Adolescent Romance Using Propensity Score Stratification

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in December 2010 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Nelson Lim (Chair), Bing Han, and Richard Buddin.

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