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Virginia on-time graduation rate rises to 88 percent

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 reported this week.

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 Gov. 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.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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