VDOE reports most students graduated on time in 2019

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Almost all of Virginia's high school students graduated on time this year.

The Virginia Department of Education says 91.5 percent of the Class of 2019 did so, and more than half of them graduated with an advanced diploma.

There were more than 98,400 students in the Class of 2019 across Virginia.

However, there was a slight drop in the percent of those students who earned the Board of Education-approved diploma. VDOE says 91.6 percent of students in the Class of 2018 had done so.

There was also a slight increase in the dropout rate, which was 5.6 percent for 2019 compared to 5.5 percent in 2018.

"Virginia's on-time graduation rate has risen by more than ten points in the decade since the department began reporting graduation rates that account for every student who enters the ninth grade," said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. "I believe this long-term upward trend will continue as school divisions and the Commonwealth adopt equitable policies and practices that provide instructional and support services tailored to the unique needs of every learner."

According to a release, of the students who entered high school as first-time ninth graders in 2015, more than 50,700 earned an Advanced Studies Diploma including the International Baccalaureate, more than 36.600 got a Standard Diploma, more than 2,700 got an Applied Studies or Modified Standard Diploma, and more than 5,500 dropped out.

VDOE says only students with disabilities are eligible to earn the Applied Studies and Modified Standard Diplomas.

The state agency also says people who earned high school equivalency certificates, like the GED, of which there were more than 1,000 this year, or who completed high school without earning a diploma are not counted as graduates when calculating the overall graduation rate.

VDOE also breaks down graduation and dropout rates for the major racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

It says 97.5 of Asian students graduated while 1.7 percent dropped out, 94.7 percent of white student graduated and 2.9 percent dropped out, 94 percent of students of two or more races graduated while three percent dropped out, 89.7 percent of black students graduated and 6.2 percent dropped out, 88.6 percent of students with disabilities graduated though 9.1 percent dropped out, 87.2 percent of economically disadvantaged students did graduate and 8.2 percent dropped out, 80.1 percent of Hispanic students graduated while 16.5 percent dropped out, and 71.1 percent of English learners graduated and 25.8 percent dropped out.

There is an annual benchmark for graduation and completion that schools have had to meet since 2011 in order to earn accreditation from the state.

VDOE says schools will get full credit for students who earn diplomas and partial credit for those who remain enrolled, earn GEDs or otherwise complete high school.

In 2017, the state Board of Education also revised accreditation standards to include benchmarks for reducing dropout rates and chronic absenteeism.

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