WASHINGTON (AP) -- Researchers say the latest data on high school graduation rates is a positive sign, with room for improvement and optimism that will happen.
Federal statistics from 2012 show that the graduation rate has reached 80 percent, which is a milestone even though it also means 1 in 5 students still don't get a diploma. However, researchers predict the improvement will continue, reaching 90 percent by 2020.
Growth in rates among African-American and Hispanic students helped fuel the gains. Most of the growth has occurred since 2006 after decades of stagnation.
The growth has been spurred by such factors as a greater awareness of the dropout problem and efforts by districts, states and the federal government to include graduation rates in accountability measures.