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National report on Utah's graduation rate inaccurate, state says

By Randall Jeppesen | Posted - Jun. 7, 2011 at 8:27 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A new national report shows a 5 percent drop over 10 years in the state's graduation rate. But state education numbers show a different picture.

Education Week's numbers show Utah's education rate dropped 5.3 percent from 1998 to 2008, to 72 percent. But Associate Superintendent Judy Park, from the state office of education, says those numbers are not correct.

"This national organization, although well-meaning, is not providing accurate information. And so to really understand what is happening with the graduation rate in Utah you need to use the information that we release which is based on individual student data and is very accurate," said Park.

According to the state count, the graduate rate now sits near 90 percent and has been rising.

Highlights from the state include:

  • Graduation rate has remained constant at 88% for 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2010, the rate rose to 90%.
  • Among ethnic groups, Hispanic/Latino students had the lowest graduation rate (74%) and White students had the highest graduation rate (92%).
  • Percentage of graduates has steadily increased over the past four years for some subgroups, such as American Indian, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged.

In January 2012, all states will have to calculate the graduation rate using the same formula. Park says under those new rules, the numbers will still look similar to what Utah is already reporting. Education Week is a publication from the nonprofit group Editorial Projects in Education.


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