EDIT POSTED - JUNE 7, 2011 - 4:15 PM
STATE GRADUATION RATE CLIMBS ABOVE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE;
NC ALSO POSTED SECOND HIGHEST GAINS
Gov. Bev Perdue and State Superintendent June Atkinson today announced that North Carolina's public high schools graduate students at a higher rate than the nation overall and showed the second highest improvement in the graduation rate since 1998 among all states, according to the 2011 Diplomas Count report issued today by the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center, publisher of Education Week. Education Week is considered to be the nation's newspaper of record for pre-collegiate education.
Overall, the Diplomas Count researchers calculated North Carolina's graduation rate as 72.8 percent. The national rate was 71.7 percent. North Carolina's graduation rate tied for 25th among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., marking the first time that the state's position has moved above the national average on this annual ranking.
"High school graduation is a requirement for students to be career- and college-ready," Gov. Perdue said. "North Carolina's educators have demonstrated once again that our schools are making significant progress toward helping all kids reach their goals."
The data presented in the report are based on results for the Class of 2008, the latest year for which comprehensive data are available for every state and the District of Columbia.
"Improving North Carolina's high school graduation rate has been my number one focus since becoming State Superintendent," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "Every activity that we undertake — from creating public schools that are rigorous and engaging for students to supporting teachers with the tools they need in the classroom — is targeted in some way to improving graduation rates."
Atkinson said that she is heartened by this report because the state's cohort graduation rate has continued to improve every year since 2008. This means that future national comparisons are likely to show the state continuing to improve its standing.
State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison called the report "an additional sign that North Carolina's system of public schools is a system that is improving and moving forward to help every student graduate from high school and be successful in college and careers."
The report's graduation rates by student group showed that North Carolina's graduation rate for African American female students was the best in the nation, 79.5 percent. The state's graduation rate for African American students overall was third highest in the nation at 72.3 percent.
Rates reported in Diplomas Count are based on a Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) based on promotion rates throughout high school and students' earning a diploma. North Carolina reports four-year and five-year graduation rates using a cohort graduation rate that actually follows each individual student from ninth grade entry throughout high school. The four-year cohort rate is very similar to the rate calculated by Diplomas Count researchers. North Carolina is one of only four states with a reported cohort rate that is not inflated above that calculated by the EPE researchers.
In 2008, North Carolina's state-reported four-year cohort rate was 70.3 percent. The latest state-reported rate for 2009-10 was 74.2 percent. Rates for 2010-11 will be released later this summer.
The full Diplomas Count report is available online at www.edweek.org/go/dc11 .
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.