Education

Iowa sets all-time high school graduation rate record

Class of 2018 had a 91.4 percent rate for graduation within four years

Molly Duffy / The Gazette

Garrett Lee, graduating senior, slaps hands with students as they walk in a line after a practice for the graduation ceremony in the gymnasium of Lakeview Elementary School in Centerville on Friday, May. 18, 2018. Graduating seniors, dressed in their caps and gowns, are greeted by students as they walk through the hallways of Lakeview Elementary School. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Garrett Lee, graduating senior, slaps hands with students as they walk in a line after a practice for the graduation ceremony in the gymnasium of Lakeview Elementary School in Centerville on Friday, May. 18, 2018. Graduating seniors, dressed in their caps and gowns, are greeted by students as they walk through the hallways of Lakeview Elementary School. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Iowa’s Class of 2018 had the state’s all-time highest graduation rate of 91.4 percent, the governor and Iowa Department of Education announced Wednesday.

The rate represents more than 32,400 students who graduated high school within four years.

Since 2011, Iowa’s graduation rate has increased more than 3 percent overall, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“This latest success is directly tied to our strong K-12 education system and Iowa’s innovative, engaging approach to education, which shapes the lives of our young people as well as the economic vitality of our state,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in the release.

Graduation rates for historically disadvantaged groups of students have also made strides since 2011, state data show, but they remain below the state’s overall rate.

Data released Wednesday show:

• 84.4 percent of low-income students graduated within four years, up from 78.1 percent in 2011

• 81.3 percent African-American students, up from 73.2 percent

• 79.3 percent of English Language Learners, up from 70 percent

• 76.5 percent of students who receive special education services, up from 69.9 percent.

In the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area, graduation rates range from 83.5 percent in the Cedar Rapids Community School District which graduated 978 students last spring, to 96 percent in the Marion Independent School District, which had 168 grads.

Iowa has had the highest graduation rate in the U.S. since 2010, the first year all states reported rates in a common way.

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Iowa’s graduation rate topped a National Center for Education Statistics ranking that analyzed Class of 2017 data in January. In 2017 the state’s rate was 91 percent.

• Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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