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America’s graduation rate reaches new high; Kansas remains above average

Posted: Oct 21, 2016
Categories: KSDE
Author: Ann Bush

President Barack Obama on Monday announced that America’s high school graduation rate has reached a record high of 83.2 percent. The president made the announcement at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C.

The high school graduation rate has steadily risen during Obama’s time in office, growing by about four percentage points since the 2010-2011 school year, which is the first year all states used a consistent, four-year adjusted measure of high school completion.

In Kansas, the 2015 four-year public school graduation rate was 85.9 percent. While this is above the national average, it isn’t enough, said Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson.

The vision for education in the state is Kansas leads the world in the success of each student. One of the five outcomes that will be used to measure the progress of the vision is graduation rates.

The goal is to have every high school student graduate and have a plan in place that will lead to success, Watson said.

The Kansas State Department of Education is focusing on several initiatives, such as kindergarten readiness, civic engagement and social-emotional growth, to help improve graduation rates in the state.

Kansas uses the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, which is the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who entered high school four years earlier (adjusting for transfers in and out).

During the past four years, Kansas’ graduation rates have increased in every subgroup. The highest percentage increases from 2011-2012 to 2014-2015 have been in the free/reduced lunch subgroup (1.6 percent increase); the Hispanic subgroup (1.9 percent increase; the Limited English Proficient (3 percent) subgroup; and the African-American subgroup (3.3 percent).

Obama said nearly every state across the country has seen progress since 2010-2011. The biggest increases across the nation have been in the English Learners, African-American and Hispanic groups.

While this is good news for Kansas, we still have more work to do. Kansas can’t lead the world in the success of each student without ensuring that all students graduate and have a plan in place for their future.

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