State education officials say on-time high school graduation rates increased for the Class of 2012. According to Virginia Department of Education numbers released Tuesday, 88 percent (85,359 of 97,023) of state public school students who entered ninth grade in fall of 2008 earned a diploma within four years. Of those students, more than 55 percent earned an Advanced Studies Diploma.
More good news was seen in statewide dropout rates, which fell from 7.2 percent for the Class of 2011 to 6.5 percent for the Class of 2012.
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell touted the numbers saying, “More students graduating on time from Virginia’s schools means we have more young people who are college or career ready. This is good news for all Virginians. While we continue to move in the right direction, our job will not be done until students in every school and every zip code have the opportunity to learn and graduate from high school prepared to succeed at the next level.”
Similarly, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright gave credit to teachers, administrators and other public educators who added students in completing their diploma requirements.
Among student cohorts, the on-time graduation rate for black students increased 2.4 points to 82.7 percent. Hispanic students also saw gains of 1.8 points, to 80.9 percent. Both groups saw decreases in dropout rates as well, with black student rates falling from 10.9 percent to 9.3 percent and Hispanics from 14.9 percent to 13.6 percent.
In Fairfax County, public school on-time four-year graduation rates beat statewide averages. FCPS’ Class of 2012 boasted a 91.3 percent rate. A total of 8,375 FCPS seniors (61.4 percent) obtained an advanced studies diploma, also besting the state’s 48.8 percent average.
“Fairfax County continues to rank near the top among Virginia school divisions and I commend our teachers, students, parents and school leaders for their efforts to maintain high graduation rates,” said FCPS Superintendent Jack D. Dale. “Graduating from high school is a critical step on the path to college and career success. However, our work is not complete until every student in the county obtains a Virginia high school diploma.”