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For Immediate Release March 9, 2010

For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs at (518) 474-1201

New Graduation Results Released for High Schools Statewide

Statewide high school graduation results reported by school districts and released today show that:

  • Statewide, almost 72 percent of the students who started 9th grade in 2005 had graduated after 4 years, by June 2009. This is compared with a 66 percent graduation rate for students who started 9th grade in 2001.
  • The annual rate of increase has declined – from 2.1 percent for the 2003 cohort to .9 percent for the 2005 cohort.
  • The graduation rate for August 2009 was over 74 percent.  
  • A fifth year of high school makes a difference for many students. Among students who started 9th grade in 2004, 77 percent had graduated by 2009, an increase of five percentage points or 12,500 more students during the fifth year.
  • The 4-year graduation rate of Black students increased from 45 to almost 56 percent between 2005 and 2009. Also, more Black students are staying in school beyond four years.
  • The 4-year graduation rate of Hispanic students increased from 42 to almost 55 percent between 2005 and 2009, although it also remains far too low. Also, more Hispanic students are staying in school.
  • The achievement gap between Black and Hispanic students on the one hand and white students on the other has declined to 25 percentage points, down from 34 percentage points for Black students and 37 percentage points for Hispanic students four years before. However, the gap is still far too wide.
  • A fifth year makes a significant difference for Black and Hispanic students. About 10 percent more graduated in the fifth year.
  • New York City has increased its 4-year graduation rate from 46.5 percent for the 2001 cohort to 59 percent for the 2005 cohort. Almost 10 percent more students graduated in the fifth year.
  • The 4-year graduation rate for students with disabilities has risen and fallen over the past four years. Graduation rates are especially low in high need districts.
  • The 4-year graduation rate for English Language Learners is also low but increasing.

Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said, "It is clear to me and to the Regents that the margin between what we are achieving and what can be achieved is far too great – and that we cannot accept business as usual."

State Education Commissioner David Steiner said, "The results show modest improvement overall. However, when we look more closely at the data, we see serious and continuing challenges. I think it is important to look in more depth at those reform elements that in our judgment are critical to moving the performance of students – especially disadvantaged students in the inner-cities. While no single tool can do all the work, the following interventions have shown real promise:

  • A rich data system that can track students and give teachers the information and tools they need in the time frame they need to use it;
  • An assessment system that includes interim and predictive assessments;
  • The ability to engage in a full-scale school re-design where needed; and
  • The ability, where absolutely necessary, to remove persistently low-performing teachers – although we believe that must be done very carefully, with great respect for all concerned."

Senior Deputy Commissioner John King added, "Commissioner Steiner and I have consistently said that there are other critical education reforms that we believe can both raise achievement overall and further close the stubborn gaps in achievement. These include:

  • A coherent, content-rich, sequenced curriculum shared across schools and districts and aligned to rigorous college and career-ready standards;
  • A new model of teacher and school-leader preparation that is clinically-based and focused on the skills and knowledge that actually make a positive difference in the learning of students;
  • More comprehensive, less predictable assessments that - through the use of more open-response and performance-based items - provide a richer and more accurate picture of student learning; and 
  • A teacher and school leader evaluation system that is fair, incorporates student academic growth data, and facilitates differentiated professional development and support.

Both sets of these critical educational reforms are among the key components of New York State’s Race To The Top application."

Statewide results and results for the Big 5 Cities and for other categories and groups of students are included in the attached slides.

Graduation Rate Data and Slides - March 9, 2010


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New York State Board of Regents
The State Education Department / The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234
Office of Communications / (518) 474-1201

Last Updated: April 13, 2011