RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia education officials say 88 percent of students in the class of 2012 graduated after four years of high school.
The Virginia Department of Education said Tuesday that the on-time graduation rate for public high school students who were first-time ninth-graders in 2008 rose more than a percentage point from the previous year's class.
On-time graduation has increased more than 7 percent since the agency first reported rates in 2008.
Of the 97,023 students who began high school in 2008, the dropout rate was 6.5 percent, down from 7.2 percent in the previous year's class. That rate has fallen by more than 25 percent in the last five years.
High schools have had to meet annual graduation and completion benchmarks to earn full state accreditation since the 2010-11 academic year.
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Office of Governor Bob McDonnell Press Release
Eighty-eight percent of the students who entered the ninth grade in the fall of 2008 earned a diploma within four years and of those, more than 55 percent earned an Advanced Studies Diploma, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) reported today.
The statewide dropout rate fell to 6.5 percent for the class of 2012, compared with 7.2 percent for the class of 2011. During the last five years, the statewide dropout rate has fallen by more than 25 percent.
"More students graduating on time from Virginia's schools means we have more young people who are college- or career-ready," said Governor Bob McDonnell. "This is good news for all Virginians. While we continue to move in the right direction, our job will not be done until students in every school and every zip code have the opportunity to learn and graduate from high school prepared to succeed at the next level."
"The statewide improvements we celebrate today are the result of hundreds of individual success stories involving teachers, administrators and other educators who provided struggling and sometimes troubled students with the instruction, support and encouragement they needed to persevere and complete their diploma requirements," Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said.
Of the 97,023 students in the 2012 cohort, 85,359, or 88 percent, earned a Board of Education-approved diploma.
47,129 of the cohort, or 48.6 percent, earned an Advanced Studies Diploma (including International Baccalaureate), compared with 47.3 percent of the 2011 cohort and 45.7 percent of the 2010 cohort.
34,365, or 35.4 percent, earned a Standard Diploma.
1,756, or 1.8 percent, earned a Modified Standard Diploma.
2,106, or 2.2 percent, earned a Special Diploma.
Modified Standard Diplomas and Special Diplomas are available only to students with disabilities.
State and local efforts to increase graduation rates and reduce dropout rates among minority students continued to show results:
The graduation rate for black students increased 2.4 points to 82.7 percent, while the dropout rate fell from 10.9 percent, to 9.3 percent.
The graduation rate for Hispanic students increased 1.8 points to 80.9 percent, while the dropout rate declined from 14.9 percent to 13.6 percent.
Since 2008, the on-time graduation for black students has risen 8.8 points and the rate for Hispanic students has risen by 9.4 points.
"We are seeing better outcomes for more young Virginians because schools are able to identify at-risk students earlier and get them the help they need to succeed," Board of Education President David M. Foster said.
Since 2011, high schools have had to meet an annual benchmark for graduation and completion to earn full accreditation under Virginia's Standards of Learning accountability program. Schools receive full credit for students who earn diplomas and partial credit for students who remain enrolled, earn GEDs or otherwise complete high school.
On-time graduation has increased by 5.9 points, or 7.2 percent, since 2008, the first year VDOE reported graduation rates for the state, school divisions and high schools based on student-level data that fully account for student mobility, promotion and retention.
2012 Cohort Report: State Summary
Two or more races
Students with Disabilities
Of Virginia's 323 high schools and schools with graduating classes, 181 achieved graduation rates higher than the state rate of 88 percent and 142 were lower. Sixty-two school divisions had graduation rates higher than the state's, and 69 divisions had graduation rates that were lower.
The dropout rates of 195 schools were lower than the statewide rate, one school equaled the state rate, and the dropout rates of 127 schools exceeded the state rate. Sixty-eight school divisions had dropout rates lower than the state, one division equaled the state rate, and 62 divisions had dropout rates that were higher than the statewide rate.
Five-Year Class of 2011 Graduates
VDOE also released new data for the class of 2011 showing that 1,125 students returned for a fifth year of high school and earned diplomas. Their achievement resulted in a five-year graduation rate for the class of 2011 of 87.9 percent compared with a four-year rate of 86.6 percent.
High school cohort reports for schools, school divisions and the commonwealth are available for viewing and downloading in the Virginia School Report Card section of the VDOE website:
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:36 PM EDT2013-05-22 23:36:22 GMT
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