Currently, only 70 percent of all students in public high schools graduate. This number drops to just 53 percent of students from low-income families. By the end of 4th grade, low-income students, by various measures, are already two years behind other students. In 8th grade, they are three grade levels behind in reading and math. By 12th grade—for those who have not dropped out—low-income and minority student achievement levels are about four years behind grade level. Low graduation rates offer final proof that schools are not meeting the fundamental achievement needs of low-income students, beginning in the earliest grades.

Closing Academic Achievement Gaps

GRAD believes that all students deserve a rigorous education that prepares them to graduate from high school and succeed in college and/or career, regardless of ethnic background or socio-economic status. For this reason, a primary goal of all GRAD sites is to reduce existing academic achievement gaps in reading/English Language Arts and mathematics. GRAD defines an achievement gap as the difference between the average academic performance of our students and the average performance of all other students in the respective state and local community.

To measure success, GRAD tracks the following academic performance measures to ensure achievement gap reductions:

  • The percentage of students meeting proficiency on state mandated standardized exams;
  • Course grade averages;
  • Grade level promotion rates;
  • Average performance on PSAT, SAT, and ACT exams; and
  • Average performance on other locally administered exams.

To close the gaps and achieve the PGKP mission we partner with schools and communities to offer the services shown below.

PGKP Components


  • to ensure that student scores improve in state reading and mathematics exams to match or exceed statewide averages (for all students of all backgrounds) in proficiency.
  • to increase the graduation rate for all students attending a partnering high school. The following additional measures provide for a more informed understanding of graduation improvements:

-Dropout rates;

-Annual attendance rates;

-Grade level promotion;

-State reported graduation rates; and

-The percentage of students receiving a GED.

  • to transform expectations for low-income students through the formation of high-impact, long-lasting school district partnerships.

How is PGKP doing? See Results.