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Flexible Options Get More Students to Graduation

  • Joanna
  • August 19, 2022

High school graduation rates in the U.S. have been steadily increasing since the early 2000s. However, the first full school year after the onset of COVID-19 saw a dip in graduation rates. In some states, this dip was as high as 2.6 percentage points.

While we may not be able to see the full picture until comprehensive national data is released (likely in 2023), 20 states have seen a decline in graduation rates despite loosening standards to help struggling students graduate.

Read more about the pandemic-related graduation rate decline at

In the article, AP shared that the class of 2021 faced unprecedented challenges that haven’t befallen other cohorts at the same rate. Never in the history of U.S. public education have we changed learning modalities so quickly or dramatically as we did in the spring of 2020. This forced students into an unfamiliar learning environment with little to no preparation.

Additionally, students were pushed into childcare responsibilities and extended work hours to help care for their families when childcare facilities shuttered and parents were laid off from their jobs.

While these challenges may have affected more students during the pandemic, they don’t exist in the COVID-19 vacuum. Students always have priorities competing with their education. Whether they’re working full time, experiencing homelessness, struggling with a chronic health condition, or dealing with any other circumstance that makes it difficult for them to progress toward graduation, schools need to provide students with options that work with — not against — their unique circumstances.

Graduation Alliance provides a research-based approach to alternative education that is holistic in nature, pairing time and place flexibility with social-emotional supports that many at-risk and non-traditional students require in order to stay on track to graduation and successful transition to life after high school.

Fill out our request for information form to learn why hundreds of state and local secondary school leaders partner with Graduation Alliance to implement Dropout Recovery, Credit Recovery and Accrual, and Alternative Programming solutions.