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.
The report is being presented Monday at the Building a GradNation Summit.