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The statewide graduation rate for the class of 2019-20 is 82.6 percent, up 2.6 percentage points over the previous year and the highest graduation rate ever recorded in Oregon, according to data released today by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). The increase means the four-year graduation rate has increased more than 10 percentage points compared to six years ago.
The gap in high school graduation rates between most historically underserved student groups and the state average is smaller than in previous years as well. The year-to-year increase in graduation rates was greater for nearly every underserved student group than the increase in the state average, bringing those underserved student groups closer to the statewide average than ever before.
“While the Class of 2020 ended their high school careers in a way no one wanted or expected, the graduation rate shows how much work they put in over the last 13 years with the support of their teachers and families,” ODE Director Colt Gill said. “Seeing greater growth in graduation rates for most students of color, students with disabilities and students navigating poverty than the state as a whole means our continued efforts to foster equity and excellence for all Oregon students continues to yield positive results.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that closed schools to in-person learning in March 2020, some of the rules regarding graduation were changed. Seniors still had the same 24 credit requirement for the Oregon Diploma as in previous years. But, they were assured credit for any course in which they were passing at the time of the extended school closure. This allowed schools to provide additional focus on securing credit-earning opportunities and learning for seniors who were not yet passing all required courses at the time of the school closure.
“Year over year, Oregon has worked to address the systemic inequities that impact our students from Black, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Indigenous, tribal, Pacific Islander, and communities of color,” said Governor Kate Brown. “In each of the last six years, Oregon’s graduation rate has risen, and we have steadily increased the number of students from communities of color completing high school. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the disparities in our education system even further, which is why it is so critical we get our students back into the classroom as quickly as possible. We must renew our commitment to ensuring that every student in Oregon graduates prepared for lifelong success.”
Other highlights from the data:
• African American/Black students saw the largest increase over last year of any student group, up 5.9 percentage points to 76.3 percent. That is close to what the statewide average graduation rate for all students was four years before (76.7 percent).
• Hispanic/Latino students graduated at a rate of 79.5 percent, up 3.3 percentage points from the previous year and higher than the statewide average was two years ago (78.7 percent).
• Students who have successfully completed English Learner programs in Oregon before they enter high school graduate at a rate of 86.1 percent, higher than the statewide average. Speaking multiple languages improves education outcomes no matter which language a student learns first.
• Career and Technical Education participants (those students taking at least one CTE course) graduated at a rate of 90.8 percent in four years and CTE concentrators (students passing two classes in a CTE Program of Study) had a 94.8 percent graduation rate in four years.
• The graduation rate for students experiencing homelessness is up from 50.7 percent from the class of 2017, to 60.5 percent for the class of 2020. The class of 2017 was the first class for which this data was calculated.
Source: Oregon Department of Education