BOISE — Idaho’s four-year graduation rate topped 80 percent for the first time with the graduating class of 2018, Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra announced Thursday.
“Our graduation rates have been improving steadily, and the pace is accelerating,” Ybarra said. “I am confident the pace will continue to pick up, thanks to hard work by our schools and districts and the intensive help my department now offers to lower-performing schools under our new accountability plan, which kicked in for the 2018-19 school year.”
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.
Both rural and urban high schools reported graduation rates of 90 percent or higher, according to the department. About 43 percent of the state’s high schools — 90 out of 210 — met that mark in 2018. Eighteen schools achieved 100 percent graduation rates for 2018.
But the latest four-year graduation results also show room for improvement, particularly in serving students with disabilities, the department said. In that demographic, only 58.5 percent of students graduated in 2018, down from 60.9 percent in 2017 and 60.5 percent in 2016. That subgroup consistently has the lowest graduation rate among all student subgroups.
Graduation rates for various other student subgroups — including black students, economically disadvantaged students and English learners — showed increases. Among Hispanic students, the graduation rate rose from 74.8 percent in 2017 to 75.9 percent in 2018.
Not yet reflected in Idaho’s graduation rates is the state’s new accountability system, which launched in August. The department established a new statewide system of support, the STAT team, which focuses on providing resources and assistance to schools and districts with average graduation rates of 67 percent or lower.