West Virginia Continues to Lead the Nation in High School Graduation Rates

December 08, 2017

Nearly Ninety Percent of Students Graduating

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia’s graduation rate continues to hover at nearly 90 percent, according to data released today by the West Virginia Department of Education. West Virginia’s 2016-17 graduation rate was 89.40 percent. The graduation rate in the Mountain State dropped slightly when compared to the previous year’s rate of 89.81 percent, but is representative of more individual graduates. During school year 2016-17, 17,400 students graduated in the 4-year cohort when compared to 16,826 in 2015-16.

Sixty-eight of West Virginia’s 116 high schools reported graduation rates of 90 percent or above for the 2016-2017 school year. Several schools achieved a graduation rate of 100 percent. Those schools include Paw Paw High School, Pickens Elementary/High School and Paden City High School.


“Ensuring that our students graduate high school prepared for college and careers is a top priority for West Virginia,” said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “Our state is poised for extraordinary job growth, and it is our duty to ensure we are graduating students to meet the future workforce needs. I am thrilled to see so many students challenging themselves to strive for greatness and earn their diploma.”


West Virginia’s graduation rate is one of the strongest in the country. Data released from the U.S. Department of Education placed West Virginia among the top states for graduation rates in 2015-16 (the national data lags behind the state-released data). The Mountain State’s graduation rate has continued to rise throughout the last several years. West Virginia also saw a significant increase in graduation rates for the 5-year cohort, moving from 87.4 percent in 2015-16 to 90.3 percent in 2016-17.


Several statewide initiatives contributed to West Virginia’s strong graduation rate. Most notably the creation of the state’s Early Warning System, which tracks 45 different indicators – the most important being attendance, behavior and grades – to identify students at risk of dropping out. The system, which has been used since 2011, provides educators at all levels with easy access to data and research-based information to identify students at-risk of dropping out. Earlier identification of at-risk students allows educators to provide interventions and change students’ trajectory.


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