Information Services - Statistical Reports
Plans of High School Graduates 1997
April 15, 1998
I am pleased to issue the annual publication, Plans of High School Graduates: Class of 1997. This report provides information on the post- graduation plans of Massachusetts public high school students who graduated in 1997. This information, along with several other educational indicators we report, helps to inform decision- making at local and state levels. The information will be useful to educators, policy- makers, and the general public in ensuring that Massachusetts students are prepared to graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills necessary for productive and successful lives.
Over 70 percent of Massachusetts high school graduates plan to continue their education at a two- or four- year college. Ten years ago, this figure was 61 percent, and twenty years ago it was 51 percent. In the class of 1997, 53 percent planned to attend a four- year college, a substantial increase from 36 percent in 1977 and 43 percent in 1987.
The Education Reform Act of 1993, with its high standards for students and teachers, will strengthen the efforts of Massachusetts schools and districts in preparing students to successfully pursue their post- graduation plans.
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this report, please contact:
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Accountability and Evaluation Services
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
Frank W. Haydu III
Commissioner of Education (Interim)
Class of 1997
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education collects data annually from high schools regarding the plans of high school graduates. The following report summarizes this data for the Class of 1997 and includes analysis by racial/ethnic groups and gender. Comparison data from past years are also provided, as well as individual school and district data. It is important to note that the data represent the intentions of high school graduates, and may not reflect what the students actually do after graduating from high school.
In 1997, a total of 49,008 students graduated from Massachusetts public high schools. Of these graduates, nearly 75 percent planned on attending college or some other post-secondary institution, almost 17 percent planned on working, and nearly three percent intended to enter the military (Figure 1 and Table 1). Of the graduates planning to attend college, nearly three times as many planned to attend a four-year college than planned to attend a two-year college (53 versus 19 percent of all graduates).
Figure 1. Plans of 1997 High School Graduates
Of the total number of graduates:
- 72% planned to attend college
- Public 4-year college - 23%
- Private 4-year college - 31%
- Public 2-year college - 15%
- Private 2-year college - 3%
- 3% planned to attend other post-secondary schools
- 17% planned to work
- 3% planned to enter the military
Table 1. Plans Of High School Graduates: Class of 1997
|Data Not Available|
In the 1997 graduating class, 78 percent of female graduates planned to attend a two- or four-year college, compared to 65 percent of male graduates, while a higher percentage of male graduates than female graduates (20 versus 13 percent) intended to work. Over five times as many males than females planned to enter the military (5 versus 1 percent). These differences according to gender continue a pattern seen in recent years.
Post-graduate plans also varied according to racial/ethnic group (Figure 2). The percentage of Asian graduates planning to attend a two- or four-year college (84 percent) was higher than that of white graduates (73 percent), Native American graduates (64 percent), African American graduates (62 percent), and Hispanic graduates (56 percent).
Trends over Time
The percentage of graduates planning to attend college, 72 percent of all graduates, has increased over the past twenty years, from 51 percent in 1977, and 61 percent in 1987 (Table 2). Between 1977 and 1997, the percentage of graduates planning to attend a two-year college increased from 15 percent to 19 percent, and the percentage planning to attend a four-year college increased from 36 percent to 53 percent. Over that same time period, the percentage of high school graduates intending to enroll in a private college increased from 24 percent to 34 percent, and the percentage intending to enroll in a public college increased from 28 percent to 38 percent (Figure 3 and Figure 4).
Of the graduates planning to attend college, the percentage planning to attend a private four-year college has increased over the past twenty years, from 38 percent in 1977 to 43 percent in 1997, while the percentage planning to attend a private two-year college has decreased over the same time period, from eight percent to five percent. Of the graduates planning to attend college, the percentage planning to attend a public four- or two-year college has remained virtually unchanged over the past twenty years.
Table 2. Plans of High School Graduates: 1975-1997
|data not available|
As the percentage of graduates planning to attend college has increased, the percentage of graduates planning to work, attend some other post-secondary institution, or enter the military has decreased (Figure 5). The percentage of graduates planning to work decreased from 32 percent in 1977 to 17 percent in 1997. The percentage of graduates planning to attend a non-college post-secondary institution decreased from six percent to three percent, and the percentage planning to enter the military decreased from four percent to three percent over the same time period.
Data Collection and Reporting by Individual Schools and Districts
Data about the plans of high school graduates were obtained from the Year-End School Indicator Report, a survey of Massachusetts public schools conducted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at the end of every school year. School officials report the number of graduating students by gender and race across nine categories of post-graduation plans.
High schools reported in the table Distribution of High School Graduates Class of 1997 at the end of this report are classified as follows:
Academic high schools (A) offer general and college preparatory courses.
Vocational high schools (V) offer Chapter 74 approved vocational-technical education programs.
Comprehensive high schools (C) offer academic courses and at least five Chapter 74 approved occupational education programs.
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