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For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Four-Year, On-Time Graduation Rate Continues to Rise

Strong Improvements Seen for Students in Urban Districts & Hispanic Male Students

MALDEN - The Patrick-Murray Administration's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced today that the state's four-year graduation rate has increased for the third year in a row, as more than 81 percent of students who entered high school as ninth graders in 2005 graduated on-time in 2009.

According to a statewide report released today, 81.5 percent of the 77,038 students in the class of 2009 cohort graduated in four years, an increase of 0.3 percentage points from 2008, 0.6 percentage points from 2007, and 1.6 percentage points from 2006. A cohort includes students who entered high school as 9th graders or who transferred into the same cohort at any time over high school.

Students in urban school districts improved their graduation rate by 3.5 percentage points (from 63.6 percent for the 2008 cohort to 67.1 percent for the 2009 cohort), while the graduation rate for Hispanic males increased by 2.2 percentage points (from 52.6 percent to 54.8 percent). Statewide, more than 80 percent of students in the 2009 cohort graduated in four years in 215 of 284 school districts (75.7 percent) and 236 of 363 schools (65 percent).

"I am really pleased to see more students graduating on time each year," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Attaining a high school diploma opens up endless possibilities for students and is a critical factor in a child's future success in higher education, the workforce, and life."

"Our administration is committed to seeing all students succeed," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "As we produce more high school graduates prepared for success in college and the workforce, we are also contributing to the state's economic strength and future growth."

"The improved graduation rate illustrates the impact of the hard, smart work of the Commonwealth's teachers and administrators," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "While I am encouraged to see more students graduating from high school on time, we have much work ahead to ensure that all students graduate from high school with an education that prepares them for the 21st Century."

"Massachusetts has been focused intently on improving graduation rates for all students," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "We will continue working with districts to accelerate our efforts to ensure all students graduate from high school ready for college and career."

The five-year graduation rate for the 2008 cohort also improved since last year, illustrating that for some students, an additional year in school is the key to success. The five-year graduation rate for the 2008 cohort was 84.2 percent, up from 84 percent for the 2007 cohort and 82.7 percent for the 2006 cohort. Overall, the 2008 five-year graduation rate was 3 percentage points higher than the 2008 four-year graduation rate.

For African-American students, the 2008 five-year graduation rate was 5.7 percentage points higher than the 2008 four-year graduation rate; for Hispanic students, the five-year graduation rate was 6.1 percentage points higher than the four-year rate.

Other findings in the report:

  • Students who attended one school throughout high school graduated at much higher rates than more transient students: 85.9 percent of students who attended only one high school graduated in four year, compared to 62.4 percent of students who attended two schools, 39.8 percent who attended three schools, and 24.9 percent who attended four or more schools.
  • Among all non-graduates statewide in the 2009 cohort, 6.2 percent stayed in school, 0.8 percent were non-graduating completers, 2.1 percent earned a GED, 9.3 percent dropped out, and 0.1 percent were expelled.
  • The four-year graduation rate for limited English proficient (LEP) students was 57.5 percent, a 1.7 percentage point increase from the 2008 cohort and a 4.2 percentage point increase from the 2007 cohort. Students with disabilities also improved since last year, as their four year graduation rate rose to 64.9 percent, up from 64.1 percent for the 2008 cohort and 62.8 percent for the 2007 cohort. The four-year graduation rate for low income students also increased since last year to 66.9 percent, up from 64.8 percent for the 2008 cohort.
  • 61.2 percent of students in the 2009 cohort who are still in school have earned their Competency Determination (CD) by passing both the English Language Arts and Mathematics sections of MCAS.

In Boston, the four-year graduation rate for the 2009 cohort was 61.4 percent, marking the first time since the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education began calculating graduation rates in 2006 that the district's rate rose above 60 percent. Boston's four-year graduation rate increased 1.5 percentage points since last year.

"This data reflects our continued work to put new programs and supports in place to ensure that Boston's high school students graduate on-time and prepared for college and beyond," said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. "While these numbers are encouraging, we refuse to rest on our laurels. There is still much more work to be done and we will not be satisfied until we achieve graduation for all."

In January, Governor Patrick signed historic legislation that he introduced to turn around underperforming schools, promote innovation and choice and eliminate achievement gaps that persist despite the successes of the state's landmark Education Reform Act of 1993. The law expands supports for students and schools that need the most help, and represents a major part of the Governor's education reform agenda designed to give all children the chance they deserve to succeed. Improving graduation rates is a priority part of that work.

For more information on the graduation rate, look online at www.doe.mass.edu/infoservices/reports/gradrates/ and http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/state_report/gradrates.aspx.



Last Updated: March 18, 2010
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