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BPS, state high school graduation rates increase

Students throughout the Boston Public Schools district as well as across the state are graduating high school within four years at higher rates.
graduation, high school graduation
The four-year high school graduation rate is increasing across the state, officials said. Photo: iStock

Boston Public Schools students are graduating within four years at a higher rate than ever before, the district announced.

Throughout BPS schools, 72.7 percent of students graduated within four years for the 2016-17 school year — a .3 percentage-point increase from the year before, according to the district, and a nearly 15 percentage-point jump since the 2006-07 school year, reaching a historic high.

“I am proud that we are continuing to make great strides in ensuring that more students than ever are graduating from our high schools,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “It is critical that every student who enters the Boston Public Schools leaves prepared to succeed in college, career and life, and a high school diploma is the catalyst for that.”

More high school students are graduating within four years all across Massachusetts, as well. Four-year graduation rates statewide have improved for the 11th consecutive year in a row, according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Statewide, 88.3 percent of the more than 73,000 Massachusetts high schoolers who graduated in 2017 did so in four years, an increase from 87.5 percent the year before.

Graduation rates did rise for students of all ethnicities throughout the state, but there are still gaps between those groups.

For the 2016-17 school year, Asian students had a 94.1 percent graduation rate, up 1.4 percentage points from the year prior and black students graduated at a rate of 80 percent, an increase of just over 1 percentage point.

Hispanic students had the lowest overall graduation rate at 74.4 percent, but those students had the biggest increase, jumping up 1.7 percentage points from the year before.

Latino students saw improvements in the BPS system, as well. The four-year graduation rate for Latino students in 2017 was 69 percent — a 2 percentage point increase from the year before and an 18 percentage point jump from ten years ago.

Though BPS’s graduation rate is under the state average, Boston’s district improved at a faster pace, officials said, and is working on closing that gap. In 2007, there was a 23 percentage point gap between BPS’s rate and the state average, and that’s narrowed to 15.6 percentage points in 2017. 

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