High school graduation rates in the city dropped slightly for the first time in a decade — falling to 60.4 percent from 60.9 the previous year, according to data released by state officials on Monday.
The graduation rate for students who graduate in August also dropped slightly to 64.7 percent from 65.5 percent last year. Across the state, the graduation rate held steady at 74 percent.
This is the first year since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office that graduation rates have slipped, but Bloomberg said on Monday that current standards for graduation are much higher.
"The standards are going up. The state wants to raise them, we've always been in favor of raising them," Bloomberg said at a news conference on Monday. "This is showing improvement, not decline, no matter how you want to spell it."
For the first time this year, students were required to score a 65 or higher on all five core subject Regents exams, the mayor's office noted. The 2011 standards allowed students to graduate with a 65 or higher on four exams and a 55 or higher on one exam.
The graduation rate is 14 percentage points higher than it was in 2005, according to the data from the city's Department of Education.
"We continue to raise the bar and our students continue to rise to the challenge," said Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott in a statement.
Dropout rates have also decreased in the city, from 22 percent in 2005 to 11.4 percent in 2012, according to the mayor's office.
"For some students, achieving higher standards takes more time — and I’m proud that more students than ever before are staying in school and graduating after five or six years," Walcott said.