Academic ProficiencyProficiency or above in reading was demonstrated by one in three 8th graders (35% in New York) in 2015 . That same year, proficiency or above in mathematics was demonstrated by 32% of 8th graders (31% in New York) .
Three out of four students who graduated in 2009 completed Algebra II, and 68% had taken biology and chemistry . Forty percent of 2009 graduates had taken an advanced language course, and 86% had included at least one foreign language course in their school career .
Middle school students (48% of 8th graders) are more likely to be involved in music and performing arts in school than are high school students (36% 10th graders, 37% 12th graders; 2013 data) . Higher numbers participate in athletics: in 2013, 64% of 8th graders, 61% of 10th graders, and 59% of seniors participated in school sports .
Learning DisabilitiesAmong children age 3-17, 9% of boys and 6% of girls were identified as having a learning disability in 2013 . Among middle and high school age youth (12-17), one in ten has been diagnosed with a learning disability . Children whose family income is below the poverty line are more likely to be identified as learning disabled (12% of those living below poverty line; 6% living at or above). Rates are similar across ethnic/racial groups .
Completing SchoolDropout rates are measured as percentages of the non-institutionalized, civilian population of young people, and thus do not reflect incarceration and military service. According to Child Trends , in 2014, of the civilian, non-institutionalized population of youth age 16 to 24 the overall dropout rate was 7%, and:
- Hispanic youth were the most likely to drop out of school; however, this rate has been declining, falling to 11% in 2014.
- Males accounted for 55% of those who dropped out of high school; females accounted for 45%.
Bullying at SchoolIn middle and high school, more than one in five students (22%) report being bullied (2013 data) . Girls are more likely than boys to experience emotional aggression: being insulted (15%), the subject of rumors (17%), or excluded (6%). Boys are more likely than girls to be pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on (7%).
Nearly one in three white students age 12-18 report being bullied (31%), the highest of the ethnic/racial groups studied. Sixth-graders experience the most bullying (37%) compared to students in higher grades .
EmploymentIn 2012, 14% of youth and young adults (age 16-24) were neither working nor in school . American Indians had the highest proportion of so-called "disconnected youth" at 27%, followed by 22% of black youth and 18% of Latino youth .
Nearly half of all youth and young adults (age 16-24) had full or part-time employment in 2014 . Among those who were not students, nearly one in three (32%) did not have a job.
Most high school seniors have some paid work during the school year . White students are more likely to be employed than students of color; however, black and Latino students are more likely to work long hours than white or Asian American students. Research has consistently shown a correlation between long work hours (over 20 hours/week) during the school year and negative outcomes (such as substance use and lower academic achievement) among high school students. However, researchers caution that work intensity does not necessarily cause these negative outcomes, and a lower proportion of black and Latino students experience these effects .
The proportion of black and Latino high school students who use some of their earnings to contribute to family needs is higher than the proportion of Asian American and white students (25% black, 22% Latino, 13% Asian American, 8% white) . Asian American and black high school students are more likely than other sub-groups to save a substantial amount of their earnings for future education .
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Child Trends. (2015, October). Participation in school athletics [see Appendix 1]. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from
Child Trends. (2014, August). Learning disabilities. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from
Child Trends. DataBank. (2015, November). High school dropout rates. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from
National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Fast facts: Bullying. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from
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Bachman, J. G., Staff, J., O'Malley, P. M., Freedman-Doan, P. (2013). Relationships between paid work intensity and problem behaviors vary by race-ethnicity and socioeconomic status: Evidence from the Monitoring the Future Study [Monitoring the Future Occasional Paper No. 75]. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from
Bachman, J. G., Staff, J., O'Malley, P.M., Freedman-Doan, P. (2014). What do teenagers do with their earnings, and does it matter for their academic achievement and development? [Monitoring the Future Occasional Paper No. 78]. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from