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Iowa's High School Graduation Rate Increases

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Date: 
Thursday, February 17, 2011

The graduation rate for Iowa’s Class of 2010 increased over the previous year, according to figures released by the Iowa Department of Education. In fact, all but one student subgroup saw an increase in its graduation rate, with significant increases among both English-Language Learner and Hispanic students.

“We have very strong foundation here in Iowa from which to improve and innovate our schools, and to make sure every student has access to the best possible education,” said Jason Glass, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “But while the graduation rate is moving in the right direction, we need to continue the hard work to maintain this momentum so that all students succeed in school and are prepared for their next step in life.”

The four-year completion rate for the Class of 2010 is 88.8%, an increase of 1.5% over the 87.3% graduation rate for the Class of 2009. In fact, most student subgroups saw an increase with the largest gains among English-Language Learners as well as Hispanic students. African-American students had a very slight decrease of 0.1%.

A comparison of the four-year completion rate for the graduating classes of 2009 and 2010 is as follows:

 

All Students

IEP

Low SES

ELL

Black

Hispanic

Native American

Asian

White

 

Class of 2010

88.8%

70.6%

78.9%

72.7%

72.0%

76.5%

73.3%

89.7%

90.4%

 

Class of 2009

87.3%

70.3%

77.2%

64.0%

72.1%

68.8%

68.1%

87.0%

89.1%

 

Difference

1.5%

0.3%

1.7%

8.7%

-0.1%

7.7%

5.2%

2.7%

1.3%

In addition, the Iowa Department of Education released figures on the five-year completion rate for students who were part of the Class of 2009 but took an additional year to complete their high school diploma:

 

All Students

IEP

Low SES

ELL

Black

Hispanic

Native American

Asian

White

Class of 2009
Four-Year

87.3%

70.3%

77.2%

64.0%

72.1%

68.8%

68.1%

87.0%

89.1%

Class of 2009
Five Year

90.5%

80.4%

83.4%

73.6%

77.9%

76.4%

76.8%

91.1%

91.9%

Additional Graduates

3.2%

10.1%

6.1%

9.6%

5.8%

7.6%

8.6%

4.1%

2.8%

“At the end of the day, what matters is that more and more students successfully complete their high school education, even if it means some students take longer than others,” added Glass. “With more than 90% of our high school students getting their diploma in five years or less, we are in a position to move forward and accomplishment great things on behalf of our students.”

Iowa Department of Education officials point to several factors that contribute to the state’s strong graduation rate, including:

  • English-Language Learner Programs: Initiatives that do everything from involving parents to assuring competency of educators
  • Modified Allowable Growth: Funding mechanism to assist districts in providing targeted services and programs for returning and potential dropouts
  • Iowa Rapidly Improving Schools: Program to provide specific focus on improving academic and social achievement of struggling learners.
  • Learning Supports: A framework that covers a range of strategies, programs and services for remove barriers for students facing challenges in school.
  • Credit Recovery Programs: A flexible system that helps students finish their high school coursework by learning content from courses they had previously failed or not completed.

This is the second year the Iowa Department of Education is using a cohort graduation rate formula. A cohort formula requires a state to assign each student a unique state identification number, a sign of a state's success in its ability to collect educational information. In Iowa, school districts have used student identification numbers since 2004, which allows school districts to keep careful accounting of each ninth grader as they progress through high school. This also helps determine when a student graduates, even if they moved to a different school district in the state during their high school career. Iowa's class of 2009 was the first group of students to have had an assigned statewide ID number for five years.

"Today, whether an Iowa student graduates in five years, graduates early, or graduates after moving between several school districts, they can be assured their accomplishment is reflected in state-wide graduation rates," added Glass.

2010 Graduation Rate by District

 

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 24, 2014 at 10:31am.