Iowa graduation rates rise for third straight year

Officials also report fewer students dropping out of Iowa high schools

Rod Boshart
Published: March 13 2014 | 9:02 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:32 am in

Iowa’s graduation rate increased in 2013, marking the third straight year of improvement, according to figures released Thursday by the Iowa Department of Education.

Also, state officials report that fewer students were dropping out of high school in Iowa.

The new figures indicate the 2013 statewide graduation rate was 89.68 percent. That was up from 89.26 percent in 2012, and 88.32 percent in 2011.

“As a former Iowa superintendent and high school principal, I know the hard work that goes into getting every student across the finish line to complete high school,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck. “Iowa’s increasing graduation rate is a testament to the commitment of everyone across the state, from parents to teachers to administrators to policy makers.”

Graduation rates for the class of 2013 increased for all but one subgroup of students. Significant increases were noted among students whose first language is not English (1.82 percent), Hispanic students (2.02 percent), and Native Americans (10.5 percent).

Though current federal rankings are not yet available, state education officials said Iowa has consistently landed at or near the top of national rankings for four-year graduation rates. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2013 increased from the previous year in 170 school districts (54 percent) out of the 316 Iowa districts that had high schools. Thirteen school districts (4 percent) saw no change in their graduation rates from the year before, while 133 districts (42 percent) saw a decrease.

Iowa’s annual dropout rate decreased in the 2012-13 school year from the year before. The 2012-13 dropout rate was 2.82 percent, a decrease of 0.37 percent from the 2011-12 dropout rate of 3.20 percent. The rate reflects the percentage of students in grades 9-12 who drop out of school during a single year. The state’s 2012-13 dropout rate represents 4,108 students.

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