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U.S. Department of Education Releases New Report on National Graduation Rates
posted by: Tim | November 28, 2012, 05:53 PM   

The varying methods formerly used by states to report graduation rates made comparisons between states unreliable. According to the Department of Education, the new common metric can be used by states, districts and schools to promote greater accountability and to develop strategies that will reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide.

While the new numbers may seem significantly more dismal, the new, more rigorous standards will reflect a more accurate picture of each state's matriculation rate. Secretary of Education Arne Duncancommented, "Through this uniform method, states are raising the bar on data standards, and simply being more honest."

Because of the dramatic change in standards, all other data should be disregarded. According to experts, changes in particular states should not be viewed as progression or regression in progress. The Department of Education is planning to use the rates as a key measure of accountability for school effectiveness.

According to the data, states with the highest graduation rates were Iowa at 88%, and Wisconsin and Vermont at 87% respectively. Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas each had an 86% graduation rate. Conversely, Georgia ranks last with just 67% of students graduating.

In terms of racial demographics, Asian students had the highest rates, with 79% graduating. White students were a close second, with 76%. Black students were third, with a 60% graduation rate. Lastly, Latino students came in at just 58%.

The new rates are coming as a reality check to education advocates nationwide. "By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed," Duncan said in a statement Monday. "Ultimately, these data will help states target support to ensure more students graduate on time, college and career ready."

Click here to view a breakdown of data by state.

Does your state's data surprise you? What can we do to increase graduation rates?

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