Florida’s graduation rate has been on the rise for the last six years. In fact, the rate has reached its highest level ever. That’s the news from the Florida Department of Education, which just released a report for the 2010-2011 school year.
The results show minority students in particular continue to graduate at higher levels. Hispanic students have increased graduation rates 13 percent and African-American students are up 11.5 percent since 2006-07. Overall, Florida’s graduation rate rose more than one point to 80.1 percent last school year. That’s an increase of nearly 10 percentage points since 2006-07.
The current graduation rate is 68.4 percent for African-Americans, 77.3 percent for Hispanics, and 86.8 for white students. “I want to commend Florida’s teachers, students, parents and school leaders for their dedication to helping their students learn and earn their high school diplomas,” said Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson. “As educators, we each play a significant role in helping our students achieve academic success, and graduation is one critical step toward the path to college and career.”
Starting in 2006, Florida began using the National Governors Association (NGA) Compact to calculate the graduation rate. This method includes standard and special diplomas, although it excludes GEDs (General Educational Development). It measures the percentage of students who graduate within four years of their first enrollment in ninth grade. NGA graduation rates are reported in the No Child Left Behind School Public Accountability Reports.
There are other methods of calculating the number of graduates. Florida’s regular rate, which has been calculated since 1998-99, counts all diploma recipients including GEDs. The regular rate shows the same upward trend over the last five years, and is slightly higher overall because of the inclusion of GEDs. In addition, the federal uniform rate will be required for federal accountability reporting purposes beginning in 2011-12. This rate is based only on standard diplomas, and those numbers will be released in January.
As more students graduate, fewer are dropping out of school. Florida’s dropout rate declined for the sixth straight year to 1.9 percent. It’s the first time the rate has been below two percent.
The state and district graduation and dropout rates can be found on the DOE website.