RICHMOND — Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced today that more than nine out of 10 students who entered the ninth grade during the 2017-2018 school year earned a diploma and graduated from high school within four years.
Of the 97,155 students in the class of 2021, 93 percent earned a Board of Education-approved diploma, compared with 92.3 percent of the 2020 cohort. The dropout rate for the class of 2021 was 4.3 percent, compared with 5.1 percent for the previous graduating class.
“In addition to congratulating our 2021 graduates for their perseverance under extraordinary and challenging circumstances, I want to thank the state Board of Education for the emergency guidance it approved last fall that allowed for greater flexibility in the awarding of verified credits toward graduation,” Lane said. “The board’s action — and the emergency waivers I issued last year — ensured that students were not prevented from graduating by pandemic-related factors beyond their control.”
Of the students who entered high school as first-time ninth graders in 2017:
- 52.8 percent earned an Advanced Studies Diploma (including International Baccalaureate).
- 38 percent earned a Standard Diploma.
- 2.1 percent earned an Applied Studies or Modified Standard Diploma.
- 0.7 percent earned a GED.
- 4.3 percent dropped out.
Applied Studies and Modified Standard Diplomas are available only to students with disabilities. Students who earn high school equivalency certificates — such as a GED — or complete high school without earning a diploma are not included as graduates in calculating graduation rates.
The graduation rates and dropout rates for the various demographic groups are as follows:
- 98.5 percent of Asian students graduated; 0.9 percent dropped out.
- 90.8 percent of Black students graduated; 4.8 percent dropped out.
- 89.2 percent of economically disadvantaged students graduated; 6 percent dropped out.
- 77.2 percent of English learners graduated; 21.2 percent dropped out.
- 85.1 percent of Hispanic students graduated; 12.2 percent dropped out.
- 90.7 percent of students with disabilities graduated; 7.3 percent dropped out.
- 95.1 percent of students of multiple races graduated; 2.3 percent dropped out.
- 95.3 percent of white students graduated; 2.3 percent dropped out.
Since 2011, high schools have had to meet an annual benchmark for graduation and completion to earn state accreditation. Schools receive full credit for students who earn diplomas and partial credit for students who remain enrolled, earn GEDs or otherwise complete high school. In addition, revisions to the accreditation standards adopted by the state Board of Education in 2017 include benchmarks for reducing dropout rates and chronic absenteeism.