DOE reports graduation rate up, dropouts down

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — The state is seeing an increase in its graduation rate and a slight decrease in its dropout rate, according to new figures released today by the state Department of Education.

The figures also show small improvements in student performance on state standardized tests.

The state’s graduation rate rose to 73.7 percent from last year’s rate of 71.4 percent. The state dropout rate fell to 16.7 percent from the previous rate of 17 percent.

School and district performance levels such as high performing, successful and failing will be released next month.

James Mason, the Education Department’s director of student assessment, told The Clarion-Ledger the test data, when viewed at the school and district level, gives a good sense of the performance of students at a school.

“Look not only in terms of their academic achievement at the moment, but look at it in the context of growth,” he said.

Looking at how students are progressing from year to year “becomes a really compelling thing,” he said.

The school growth information will be released along with performance labels and A-F grades next month.

That data will help parents and communities set expectations for their schools and determine whether the schools “are providing the type of education that our students need and that they deserve,” Mason said.

The performance on the new U.S. history test is lower than on the previous tests. About 72 percent of high school students tested in that subject passed.

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