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High school graduation rate up to 81.2 percent; gap lessens for students of color

The graduation rate in 2014 was 81.2 percent, up from 79.8 percent the year before.

The high school graduation rate in Minnesota improved to 81.2 percent in 2014, up from 79.8 percent in 2013.

State officials say there was an upward trend for all students, although there still remains a large gap between white students and students of color.

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said:

“While today’s data show Minnesota is moving in the right direction, there is more work to do. We must maintain our urgency, working together to close gaps for all student groups and with that goal of a 90-percent graduation rate by 2020 always in our minds. It won’t be easy, but I believe we can do it.”

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The graduation rate for white students was 87.8. A downloadable spreadsheet gives more detail.

Officials gave some highlights of how different groups of students fared:

  • Asian/Pacific Islander students posted an 81.7 percent graduation rate, up three points from 2013, and a nine point increase since 2011.
  • Black students posted a 60.36 percent graduation rate, up nearly three points from 2013, up more than 10 points since 2011.
  • Students learning English posted a 63.7 percent graduation rate, up four points from 2013, and an 11-point increase since 2011.
  • Students receiving free- or reduced-price lunch posted a 65.9 percent graduation rate, up two points from 2013, and a seven-point increase since 2011.
  • Hispanic students posted a 63.2 percent graduation rate, up four points from 2013, and a 12-point increase since 2011.

And they said these points are encouraging in closing the color gap:

  • Since 2011, the gap between white and black students narrowed by eight percentage points while the Hispanic-white gap reduced by 9.6 points.
  • Since 2011, the graduation rate gap between English learners and native English speaking students in the state has narrowed by more than 10 percentage points.
  • The gap between students in poverty and their more affluent peers has reduced by nearly seven percentage points since 2011

Gov. Dayton said:

“I congratulate Minnesota’s students, teachers, and parents for this improvement. It is very encouraging; however, we must provide all our students with the quality educations and the support they need to graduate. Our new investments in all-day kindergarten and pre-K learning, which were approved by the Legislature last year, will help build upon this important progress.”