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West Virginia Leads the Nation on Improving High School Graduation Rates

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October 20, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - New preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Education shows that states continue to increase high school graduation rates and narrow the gap for traditionally underserved students. The data shows West Virginia saw the fourth-greatest increase in graduation rates from 2012-13 to 2013-14.

West Virginia saw an increase from 81.4 percent in 2012-13 to 84.5 percent in 2013-14. Graduation rates of students with disabilities rose from 62.1 percent to 70.3 percent and economically disadvantaged students increased from 73.7 percent to 80.1 percent. In addition to West Virginia, states that saw the biggest gains include Delaware, Alabama, Oregon and Illinois.

This news comes on the heels of the release of a five-year strategic plan which outlines a goal of improving the graduation rate annually with an ultimate goal of 90 percent for all West Virginia students by 2020. West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano outlined the plan recently to the State Board of Education.

“I am encouraged by this news because for me, one dropout is too many,” Martirano said. “Graduating from high school is an important accomplishment, and one our students must aspire to and take pride in. We must continue to ensure teaching and learning are designed and aligned to produce more high school graduates.”

The report is an important first look at preliminary graduation rates reported by states for the 2013-14 school year. The National Center for Education Statistics is expected to release final graduation rate data – including the nation’s newest graduation rate – in coming months. The nation has posted record graduation rates for the last two years, with the highest rate ever of 81 percent announced in March and improvement across all student subgroups.

The vast majority of states – 36 – saw increases in overall graduation rates, while 6 states saw decreases and another 8 saw no change since 2012-13. The majority of states also shrank the achievement gap for black and Hispanic students, as well as students with disabilities, English language learners and low-income students.

All preliminary data can be found by visiting: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/states-continue-improve-graduation-rates-particularly-underserved-students

For additional information, contact Kristin Anderson at the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or Kristin.Anderson@k12.wv.us.

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