RICHMOND – Gov. Bob McDonnell announced today nearly nine out of ten students who entered the ninth grade in the fall of 2009 earned a diploma within four years, and 55.8 percent of the commonwealth’s 2013 high school graduates earned an Advanced Studies Diploma. The statewide dropout rate fell to 5.9 percent for the class of 2013, compared with 6.5 percent for the class of 2012.
“Behind these positive statistics are students, parents, teachers, counselors, and other educators who worked together to accomplish great things,” McDonnell said. “I congratulate all of these dedicated students, parents, and educators for their commitment to success, no matter the obstacles. The old saying remains true: ‘to get a great job you need a great education.’ More and more Virginia students are putting in the hard work, and getting that education. I applaud our students, parents, and teachers for making this progress possible.”
“Every one-point improvement in the state graduation rate represents another 1,000 young men and women who have earned diplomas and are able to pursue postsecondary and career opportunities that otherwise would be off limits,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said.
In the 2013 cohort of 96,167 students, 89.1 percent earned a Board of Education-approved diploma. Of these students who entered high school as freshmen in 2009:
· 47,811 graduates, or 49.7 percent, earned an Advanced Studies Diploma (including International Baccalaureate), compared with 48.6 percent of the previous cohort.
· 34,356, or 35.7 percent, earned a Standard Diploma.
· 1,510, or 1.6 percent, earned a Modified Standard Diploma.
· 2,019, or 2.1 percent, earned a Special Diploma.
Modified Standard Diplomas and Special Diplomas are available only to students with disabilities. The Modified Standard Diploma is in the process of being phased out as students with disabilities who are learning at grade-level work toward meeting the requirements for the Standard Diploma with accommodations allowed by the state Board of Education.
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 1.4 points to 84.1 percent, while the dropout rate fell from 9.3 percent, to 8.7 percent.
· The graduation rate for Hispanic students increased 2.4 points to 83.3 percent, while the dropout rate declined from 13.6 percent to 11.7 percent.
· The graduation rate for students with disabilities increased by 0.7 of a point to 85.6 percent and the dropout rate fell from 10.9 percent to 10.5 percent.
· The graduation rate for limited-English proficient students increased by 2.3 points to 81 percent and the dropout rate declined from 17.1 percent to 15.5 percent.
“The state board’s vision of college and work force readiness embraces all students, regardless of their backgrounds and circumstances,” Board President David M. Foster said.
On-time graduation has increased by 7.8 points since 2008, the first year the Virginia Department of Education (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. During the same period, the on-time graduation for black students has risen 10.1 points and the rate for Hispanic students has risen by 12.1 points.
Of Virginia’s 326 high schools and schools with graduating classes, 180 achieved graduation rates higher than the state rate of 89.1 percent and 146 were lower. Of the 131 school divisions with high schools, 62 had graduation rates higher than the state’s, and 69 had rates that were lower.
The dropout rates of 189 schools were lower than the statewide rate, and the dropout rates of 137 schools were higher. Sixty-six school divisions had dropout rates lower than the state as a whole, and 66 divisions had dropout rates that were higher than the statewide rate.
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.