The New Jersey Department of Education has released district-level and state-level School Performance Reports, including new data showing the high school graduation rate has grown to 90.5 percent in 2017. That marks the sixth consecutive year with an increase in the graduation rate.
Previous performance reports only provided school-level data, but the new information offers parents and other education stakeholders a perspective that tells how an entire school district is performing, as well as statewide figures.
Dr. Lamont Repollet, acting education commissioner, expressed pride in the districts that have demonstrated the greatest improvements.
“I’d like to congratulate the students, educators, school leaders, community members and families for such steady increases in high school graduation rates, as such efforts require perseverance, academic excellence and a strong focus on the needs of the whole child, particularly those most at risk,” he said. “These increases in high school graduation rates are exciting, as they demonstrate we are on a path toward closing our achievement gaps and achieving excellent and equitable educational opportunities for our children.”
Of particular note, the performance reports also include the most recent graduation rate, which continues to be among the highest in the nation. The graduation rate has increased by 1.9 percentage points over the past four years, meaning an additional 2,219 more students earned diplomas in 2017 than in 2014.
Student groups – including racial/ethnic, economically disadvantaged, English language learners and special education students – have increased their graduation rates faster than the state as a whole, suggesting New Jersey is making progress toward closing achievement gaps.
From 2014 to 2017, the graduation rate increased 4.47 percentage points (to 83.37 percent) for African-American students; 3.74 percentage points (to 84.32 percent) for Hispanic students; 4.33 percentage points (to 83.95 percent) for economically disadvantaged students; 2.22 percentage points (to 78.84 percent) for special education students; and 5.0 percentage points (to 76.10 percent) for English language learners.
The statewide 90.5 percent graduation rate in 2017 was an increase from 90.1 percent in 2016, and 89.7 percent in 2015, and 88.6 percent in 2014. Moreover, it is the highest level since New Jersey began using the federal methodology for calculating graduation rates in 2011, when New Jersey’s graduation rate was 83 percent.