NEWS RELEASES 2009-10 :: AUGUST 6, 2009


North Carolina's high school graduation rate increased in 2009 to 71.7 percent, according to the results of the 2009 four-year cohort graduation rate today released at the State Board of Education's August meeting.

The rate has improved each year since 2006 when North Carolina reported its first measurement of a cohort graduation rate and is up from 2008 when it was 70.3 percent.

State Superintendent June Atkinson has made increasing the state's graduation rate a focus of her work at the Department of Public Instruction. State Superintendent Atkinson plans to recognize schools and districts with the highest graduation rates at a special event in September.

"Graduating from high school is a fundamental accomplishment that every young person in North Carolina should earn," Atkinson said. "Last year, I launched The Message: Graduate Web site and began a concerted effort to highlight the importance of graduation. I will not rest until North Carolina's graduation rate moves to 100 percent."

Results from this year's report :

All Students 71.7 percent
Male 67.0 percent
Female 76.5 percent
Native American 59.9 percent
Asian 83.7 percent
Black 63.1 percent
Hispanic 59.0 percent
Multi-Racial 71.3 percent
White 77.6 percent
Economically Disadvantaged 61.8 percent
Limited English Proficient 52.2 percent
Students with Disabilities 56.8 percent

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison encouraged local school districts to examine practices that can assist students in being successful. "Not graduating from high school should not be an option for any young person," Harrison said. "It is that important as a gateway for higher education and success in adulthood. Local school districts can do many things to encourage graduation and to support students toward graduation."

Since the fall of 2002, local school districts have been accounting for each ninth grader as he or she moves through high school. This record-keeping provides the state with an accurate count of how many students graduate with a diploma in four years. Because some students may need a fifth year in order to earn their high school diploma, a five-year cohort graduation rate also is recorded.

The five-year rate for students who entered high school in 2004-05 was 73 percent, showing that about 3,200 students who did not graduate in four years were able to complete their high school requirements with the fifth year. The five-year rate for students who entered high school in 2005-06 (the Class of 2009) will be reported next year.

North Carolina is one of the first states to comply with the National Governors Association compact, a plan begun in 2005 by the nation's governors to implement a common formula to calculate each state's graduation rate.

For more information, please contact the NCDPI Communications division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.