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Graduation rates: how are they calculated?
May 2, 2016

Ivan Raconteur

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – Local school districts all have four-year graduation rates that are significantly higher than the state average.

Each year, the Minnesota Department of Education announces graduation rates for high school students.

Typically, these rates are released in February or March, because Minnesota allows summer graduates to be included in the prior year graduation rate.

Statewide, the average graduation rate for 2015 was 81.9 percent. The statewide average has been steadily increasing since 2011, when the rate was 72.2 percent.

Four-year graduation rates for local districts in 2015 ranged from 93 percent to 100 percent.

In 2012, Minnesota began using the federally-required “adjusted cohort graduation rate” model. This model follows students in a group, or “cohort,” throughout high school and determines if they graduate within four, five, or six years, according to the Minnesota Report Card website.

The four-year graduation rate shows the number of students graduating from high school within four years after entering grade nine.

“To determine this rate, we identify all students who entered ninth grade four years ago,” the Minnesota Department of Education noted. “The next step is to add any students who moved into the school, and subtract any students who moved away. This adjusted number represents the total number of students who are eligible to graduate. The actual graduation rate is determined by dividing the total number of students who actually graduated by the number of those eligible to graduate.”

According to the site, the five-year and six-year graduation rates show the number of students who took additional time to earn sufficient credits or meet other graduation requirements, and to receive a high school diploma from their district.

These two extended year graduation rates are calculated in the same way as the four-year rate, but instead determine the percent of students graduating in five years and six years.

Traditional and alternative public schools that serve 12th grade students and have at least 10 graduating seniors receive a four-, five- and six-year graduation rate, and have it displayed on the Minnesota Report Card website.

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