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Press Release

Monday, December 12, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida Students Graduate in Record Numbers

~ Minority student graduation rates continue to increase since 2006 ~

Tallahassee - Florida's graduation rate has risen to its highest level ever, continuing a six year upward trend despite a challenging budget year. According to results released today from the Florida Department of Education, Hispanic and African-American students continue to graduate at higher levels, with Hispanic students increasing graduation rates 13 percentage points since 2006-07, and African-American students increasing 11.5 percentage points during the same timeframe. Overall, the Sunshine State's graduation rate rose more than one full percentage point to 80.1 percent, up from 79.0 percent last year and up nearly 10 percentage points since 2006-07.

"I want to commend Florida's teachers, students, parents and school leaders for their dedication to helping their students learn and earn their high school diplomas," said Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson. "As educators, we each play a significant role in helping our students achieve academic success, and graduation is one critical step toward the path to college and career."

This year's graduation rate for Hispanic students is 77.3 percent, up two percentage points from last year, and African-American students remained steady from 2009-2010 with a graduation rate of 68.4 percent. White students' graduation rate rose to 86.8 percent, up 1.4 percentage points from last year.

Dropout Rate Continues to Decrease
Following the upward progress in graduation rates, Florida's dropout rate also declined for the sixth straight year to 1.9 percent. This is the first time the state's dropout rate has fallen below two percent, and the rate represents a decline of 0.1 percentage points from last year and a decrease of 1.7 percent since 2006-07.

The graduation rate approved by the State Board of Education uses a formula recommended by the National Governors Association (NGA), which includes standard and special diplomas as graduates but excludes all GEDs (General Educational Development). The NGA rate replaces Florida's previous calculation method that included GEDs. Florida's graduation outcomes, calculated using the federal uniform rate required for federal accountability reporting purposes beginning in 2011-12, will be released in January 2012. This rate is based only on standard diploma graduates.

Since 1998-99, Florida has used a data collection method that ensures an accurate calculation of the graduation rate by following every student from ninth grade to graduation. The calculation defines the group of students on the same schedule to graduate and measures the percentage of these students who graduate within four years of their first enrollment in ninth grade.

To view the state and district graduation and dropout rates, please visit http://www.fldoe.org/eias/eiaspubs/pubstudent.asp.