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04/09/2018

Gov. Malloy Announces Increase in Graduation Rates for Seventh Consecutive Year

Highest Need Districts Improving at Faster Rate than State Average

Governor Malloy announcing graduation ratesGovernor Malloy at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven
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(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy and State Department of Education (SDE) Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell today announced that graduation rates in the state reached a record high of 87.9 percent in 2017, marking an increase for the seventh consecutive year. Also on the rise are the graduation rates for school districts that participate in Connecticut’s Alliance District program. The graduation rates for the Alliance Districts reached 80.5 percent in 2017, up from 71.2 percent in 2011. The Educational Reform Districts, a subset of the Alliance Districts and among the lowest performing in the state, showed a 12.1 point gain since 2011, up to 75.7 percent in 2017.

Connecticut Four-Year Graduation Rate Trend

Grad rates

“My administration has been laser-focused on educational outcomes and making sure that every kid in Connecticut, no matter their zip code, has access to a quality education and the opportunity to succeed,” Governor Malloy said. “Over the past seven years, the results have been dramatic, particularly for the lowest-performing districts in the state. Education should be the great equalizer, and we must continue to build on our successes to ensure that all students graduate prepared for the jobs of the 21st century.”

“Achieving a record-high graduation rate in 2017 is another exciting and incredible milestone toward our goal of equity and excellence for all Connecticut students,” Commissioner Wentzell said. “What’s even more encouraging to me is the fact that our Alliance Districts and particularly our highest need Educational Reform Districts have outpaced the statewide growth in graduation rates. The fact that more young people than ever before are earning high school diplomas is a testament to the hard work and commitment of so many teachers, principals, superintendents, community partners, elected leaders, and of course our parents and students.”

Four-Year Graduation Rate

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Difference from 2011

Educational Reform Districts

63.6

66.3

69.1

71.7

71.6

73.0

75.7

12.1

Alliance Districts

71.2

73.5

74.8

77.5

77.6

78.3

80.5

9.3

State

82.7

84.8

85.5

87.0

87.2

87.4

87.9

5.2

Note: The Alliance and Education Reform designations are from prior to July 2017.


Through the Alliance District program, the state provides increased funding tied to greater accountability for the 33 lowest performing school districts. During the past four years, over $551 million has been invested into the Alliance Districts to help them strengthen their schools and improve outcomes for students. New Haven Public Schools, an Alliance District, increased 16.1 points since 2011, reaching 80.0 percent in 2017.

Governor Malloy and Commissioner Wentzell made the announcement at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, a Commissioner’s Network school which had the third largest increase in graduation rate over the past five years of any Connecticut high school, reaching 81.3 percent in 2017, up from 64.3 percent in 2013.

Detailed results for all districts and schools are available on the SDE’s data portal EdSight at http://edsight.ct.gov.

Improvement Among High Needs Students

In 2017, a subgroup of high needs students, which includes English learners, those eligible for free or reduced price lunch, and students receiving special education services, saw another increase in the graduation rate to 78.1 percent. Over the past six years, the graduation rate for high needs students has jumped 6.7 points.


State of Connecticut

Trend Graduation Cohort by High Needs

Four-Year Graduation Rate by Year

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

High Needs

71.4

72.4

75.5

76.1

76.8

78.1

Non-High Needs

95.9

96.5

97.1

97.6

97.6

97.9

Graduation rates for English learners improved to 68.4 percent in 2017, up from 67.3 in 2016 and from 59.4 in 2011. Graduation rates for students with disabilities improved to 66.7 percent in 2017, up from 65.2 in 2016 and from 62.4 in 2011.

Graduation rates for black and Hispanic students continued to increase, outpacing the average growth for the state. The graduation rate for black students reached 80.1 percent in 2017, up 8.9 points since 2011. For Hispanic students, the graduation rate reached 77.7 percent in 2017, up 13.4 points since 2011.

Graduation Rate Gaps Among Student Groups

The graduation rate gap between black students and white students decreased to a 12.7-point gap, down from 18.2 points in 2011. Overall, the gap has decreased 5.5 points since 2011.

Grad rates

The graduation rate gap between Hispanic students and white students decreased to a 15.1-point gap-down from 25.2 points in 2011. Overall, the gap decreased 10.1 points since 2011.

Grad rates

Using free and reduced-priced meal eligibility as an indicator of family wealth, the graduation rate gap between low-income students and their more affluent peers decreased to a 17.4-point gap-down from 27.7 points in 2011. Overall, the gap decreased by 10.3 points since 2011.

Grad rates

While the increases among the graduation rates for students from subgroups are encouraging, significant gaps remain.

Graduation rates are calculated according to the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate method, which the National Governors Association developed and is considered to be the most precise method. These rates represent the percentage of first-time, ninth-grade students who graduated with a regular high school diploma in four years or less. It is based on individual student-level data, excludes ninth-grade repeaters, late graduates, and accounts for transfers in and out of the graduating class over the four-year period.

Connecticut 2017 Cohort Graduation Rate

Graduates

Non-Graduates

Category

2017 Cohort Count

4-Year Graduation Rate

Difference from 2016

Still Enrolled

Other

All Students

42,508

87.9

0.5

5.6

6.5

Hispanic

8,842

77.7

1.3

9.0

13.3

Non-Hispanic

33,666

90.6

0.4

4.8

4.7

Indian or Alaska Native

116

87.9

-1.0

4.3

7.8

Asian

1,768

95.5

0.9

2.9

1.6

Black

5,844

80.1

1.3

9.5

10.4

Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

32

81.3

-2.5

9.4

9.4

White

25,050

92.8

0.3

3.7

3.5

Two or More Races

856

87.7

0.0

6.8

5.5

Male

21,936

85.1

0.7

7.0

7.9

Female

20,572

90.9

0.3

4.1

4.9

English Learner

2,402

68.4

1.0

12.4

19.2

Non-English Learner

40,106

89.1

0.6

5.2

5.7

Eligible For Lunch

18,520

78.1

1.4

9.6

12.3

Eligible For Free Lunch

15,276

76.0

1.6

10.2

13.8

Eligible For Reduced Lunch

3,244

88.3

0.2

6.4

5.3

Not Eligible For Lunch

23,988

95.5

0.4

2.6

1.9

Special Education

6,606

66.7

1.5

20.7

12.5

Non-Special Education

35,902

91.8

0.5

2.9

5.3

High Needs

21,490

78.1

1.3

10.5

11.3

Non-High Needs

21,018

97.9

0.3

0.6

1.5

Notes:

  • With the exception of the 2017 cohort count column, which is a count of students, all remaining columns represent percentages. Row percentages may not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.
  • A student is included in the EL, special education, or free/reduced lunch subgroup, or any combination of them, if he or she was reported in that subgroup in at least one of the Public School Information System data collections over the course of his or her high school career.
  • In reporting race/ethnicity, the student’s last reported category is used.
  • Special Education students who are still in school after four years but have earned the academic credits to graduate are included in the “still enrolled” column for this calculation.
  • A student is included in the High Needs category, if he or she is identified as an English learner, a student with a disability, or as eligible for free/reduced price meals.
  • The Cohort Count is as of the end of the 2016-17 school year.
  • Four-Year Graduation Rate is the percentage of students who received a standard diploma within four years including early and summer graduates from the cohort.
  • Still Enrolled means students were still in school after four years.
  • Other category includes students who dropped out (including those who enrolled in an adult education program), or transferred to postsecondary education, or transferred to another school district but never enrolled in that district, or have an unknown status

Methodology and Documentation

The SDE introduced the four-year cohort graduation rate with the graduating class of 2009. This approach was created when Connecticut and 49 other states signed an agreement with the National Governors Association to develop a uniform system for tracking students. The four-year cohort graduation rate is calculated by tracking an individual cohort, or group of students, from their initial entrance into Grade 9 through graduation. The four-year cohort graduation rate represents the percentage of students who earn a standard high school diploma within four years. The calculation uses individual student-level data from the state’s Public School Information System that school districts submitted and superintendents certified.

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