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Iowa’s high school graduation rate increases

February 28, 2013
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

DES MOINES, IA The graduation rate for Iowa's class of 2012 climbed statewide from the previous year, according to figures released today by the Iowa Department of Education.

"Iowa's graduation rate is a testament to the hard work and commitment that teachers and school leaders show in classrooms across the state," Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass said. "While we work to continue that momentum, we also must look beyond the high school diploma and make sure all students are prepared for success after high school."

The statewide graduation rate is 89.26 percent. That's an increase of 0.94 percent from the 88.32 percent rate for Iowa's class of 2011, which led the nation in state four-year graduation rates. The 2012 graduation rate also remains above the 2010 rate of 88.8 percent.

Graduation rates increased for all but two subgroups of students in the class of 2012, with significant increases among students whose first language is not English (3.94 percent), students with disabilities (2.82 percent), and students from low-income backgrounds (1.59 percent).

Four-year graduation rate

The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2012 increased from the previous year in 172 school districts (54 percent) out of the 318 Iowa districts that had high schools. Ten school districts (3 percent) saw no change in their graduation rates from the year before, while 136 districts (43 percent) saw a decrease.

Iowa graduation rates are calculated with a formula established by the U.S. Department of Education. Unique student identification numbers allow school districts to carefully account for all ninth-grade students as they move through high school. At the state level, the method helps determine when a student graduates, even if the student has switched districts in Iowa during high school.

Eight of Iowa's 10 largest school districts reported increases in four-year graduation rates. Of those districts, Des Moines Public Schools reported the largest gain of 3.47 percent; the district's overall four-year graduation rate is 79.15 percent.



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