Education

Iowa's Class of 2019 sets high school graduation record

Overall graduation rate inches up to 91.6 percent

Jason Jaeger, right, files past the audience as graduates enter for the Metro High School Spring Graduation at the Doubl
Jason Jaeger, right, files past the audience as graduates enter for the Metro High School Spring Graduation at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex in downtown Cedar Rapids on Saturday, May 25, 2019. (The Gazette)

The high school graduation rate for Iowa’s Class of 2019 reached a record high of 91.6 percent, the Iowa Department of Education reported Tuesday.

The four-year graduation rate is a best for Iowa, which routinely tops state rankings for the metric.

“More Iowans are graduating high school better equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century economy,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement. “Whether it’s through computer science, STEM or work-based learning, we are changing the way our students learn and removing barriers that exist for underserved communities.”

Graduation rates among the total population of Iowa high-schoolers has increased over the last few years. The Class of 2018’s graduation rate was 91.4 percent, 2017’s was 91 percent and 2016’s was 91.3 percent.

Since 2011, the Education Department noted, high school completion rates have improved for “nearly every” group of students. The department highlighted a 9.3 percent point growth among Hispanic students to an 84.5 percent graduation rate; English learners by 8.8 points to 78.8 percent;, and black students by 8.4 points to 81.6 percent.

Iowa calculates graduation rates using a formula set by the U.S. Department of Education.

“Iowans should be proud of our consistent, upward trend in graduation rates,” state education Director Ryan Wise said in a statement.

The department also noted that the state’s annual high school dropout rate remained relatively steady, dropping from 2.67 to 2.61 percent.

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

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