OLYMPIA – Graduation rates are one important measure of how well Washington’s K–12 education system is serving students. The measure is used in the Washington School Improvement Framework, one tool the state uses to understand progress and identify schools in need of additional supports.
Recently the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction released graduation rates from 2019.The 4-year graduation rate remains at 80.9%, an all-time high. This rate reflects the percentage of students who started the ninth grade at the same time and graduated four years later.
The 5-, 6-, and 7-year rates have all increased with the 5-year rate climbing by 1.2 percentage points since last year.
“We are encouraged to see graduation rates for students who stay in high school past four years continue to increase,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “We know that for some of our students, the support provided beyond the fourth year is vital to their success after high school.”
Several student groups saw an increase in the 4-year graduation rate from last year. When reviewing progress by race and ethnicity, Native American students and students who are two or more races experienced the largest gains, with their rates growing by 1.2 and 0.6 percentage points, respectively.
“The largest gap we see close after that 4-year mark is for students with disabilities,” Reykdal continued. “The 4-year graduation rate for students receiving special education services is 62.1%. By the seventh year, their graduation rate increases to 75.6%.”
Many students with disabilities who stay in school past their fourth year receive transition services to help them be successful, such as job readiness, independent living, and adaptive living skills. For others, they simply need more time to complete their graduation requirements.
“We know we have work to do to better prepare students with disabilities for life beyond high school,” Reykdal said. “At the state level, our focus right now is on improving our ability to connect students with support agencies while they are in school and promoting inclusionary practices in the classroom.”
Graduation rates can be viewed for the state, by school district, or by school through the state Report Card.