New Jersey’s high school graduation rate rose last year for the fourth consecutive year, with 89.7 percent of students receiving diplomas in 2015 — up from 88.6 percent the year before, the state Department of Education announced earlier this week. It was also the third consecutive year in which the rate grew by at least a full percentage point.
This increase comes even the adoption of federally mandated methodology for calculating the graduation rate which began with the graduating class of 2011. Since then, the state’s high school graduation rate has increased by 6.7 percent. The new methodology was designed to improve the accuracy of graduation rates by tracking cohorts of students over four years, starting from the time they enter the ninth grade.
In addition, New Jersey also saw a continued narrowing of the achievement gap. A summary of graduation rates by student subgroups is as follows:
- For the first time, African American students graduated at a rate above 80 percent with 81.5 percent in 2015, an increase of 2.6 percentage points from 2014, when it was 78.9 percent.
- 82.8 percent of Hispanic students graduated in 2015, a 2.2 percent increase from the previous year of 80.6 percent.
- 94.0 percent of white students graduated in 2015, an increase from 93.5 percent in 2014.
- 96.5 percent of Asian students graduated in 2015, an increase from 96.2 percent reported in the previous year.
- Economically disadvantaged students graduated at a rate of 81.7 percent in 2015, an increase of 2.1 percent from 2014, when it was 79.6 percent.
- 74.0 percent of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students graduated in 2015, an increase of 2.9 percentage points from 71.1 percent in 2014.
- Students with disabilities graduated at a rate of 78.0 percent in 2015, an increase of 1.4 percentage points from 2014 when it was 76.6 percent.
The Department also calculated the five-year graduation rate for students that began high school in 2010. While the four year graduation rate last year was 88.6 percent for the class of 2014, the graduation rate that included students who continued on for a fifth year was 90.6 percent.