The Idaho Department of Education reported earlier this month that the state’s high school graduation rate has reached an all-time high of just above 80 percent.
Across Idaho, 80.65 percent of high school students graduated within four years, up from 79.67 percent in 2017 and 79.66 in 2016. The 2015 graduation rate was 78.91 percent.
Challis had a 77.8 percent graduation rate, according to the report. In Mackay, 78.6 percent of students graduated. Butte County High School in Arco had a rate of 78.1 percent, and Salmon High School’s rate was 76.5 percent, according to the state report.
For comparison, the Coeur d’Alene School District had a graduation rate of just above 87 percent. The Boise School District graduated 81 percent of its students. About 43 percent of the state’s high schools, 90 out of 210, graduated more than 90 percent of students in 2018. And 18 schools achieved 100 percent graduation rates for 2018.
The growth in the four-year graduation rate is particularly encouraging because 2018’s graduating class was larger than 2017’s by 370 students — up from 18,059 to 18,429, education department officials said.
Statewide graduation rates are for the traditional four-year cohort for 2018 and the new five-year cohort, which includes members of the class of 2017 who completed high school in 2018. A cohort is made up of all students who start ninth grade together. The five-year rates includes students who graduated in four years as well as students who finished in five years.
This year the education department is measuring a five-year graduation rate for the first time to help keep track of the number of students who don’t finish high school in the traditional four years, department Director of Assessment and Accountability Karlynn Laraway said. About 25 percent of the students who did not graduate in four years returned for a fifth year in 2017-18, she said.
The initial five-year rate shows that the number of students in the class of 2017 who graduated by 2018 was 82 percent, about 2.3 percentage points higher than the class of 2017 four-year rate.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said the graduation rate has been steadily improving and the pace of that improvement is accelerating. Ybarra said she expects improvement to continue because of hard work by schools and districts across Idaho and a new accountability plan offered to lower-performing schools that started this school year.