Assessing Census Bureau Estimates of High School Graduation

Kurt J. Bauman, U.S. Census Bureau
Alexander L. Janus, U.S. Census Bureau

Research, by Swanson, Greene, Chaplin, and others has claimed to show that high school graduation is overstated in Census Bureau reports, and that what appears to be a stable or upward trend in graduation is actually a decline. The research we undertake examines these criticisms by use of a variety of data sources. We make comparisons of CPS and Census estimates of educational attainment, examine reliability studies of Census and SIPP questionnaires and conduct benchmarking against data from NCES, GED testing service and other sources. This work provides a better understanding of the value of the criticisms of current data collection procedures and provides the beginnings of a plan for necessary changes in data collection and reporting.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Education, Gender, Religion, Language and Culture