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D.C. School System Shows Increased Graduation Rate

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High school teacher Shira Fishman with math students in a D.C. Public School.
Kavitha Cardoza
    High school teacher Shira Fishman with math students in a D.C. Public School.    

The latest graduation rate figures have been released in D.C., and the public school system is at 61 percent — a 2 percent increase from 2011. That means more than half of all D.C. public school children graduate with high school diplomas in four years. 

D.C.'s charter school system's graduation rate is far higher than the average, at 77 percent — but that is a three-point drop from the previous year. The traditional public school system's graduation rate improved by three points to 56 percent. 

Overall, more than 1,000 students have either dropped out permanently during the past year or haven't officially left out but aren't in school, according to the statistics.

This year is the first time D.C. Public Schools and other school systems around the country reported graduation rates calculated under a more robust system. Last year, for the first time, states across the country were required to use a standard method involving following every student entering in the 9th grade to see if he or she graduated four years later. 

Previously, states used a variety of more generous methods. Some estimated how many students they think graduated, others count GED certificates as high school diplomas. Others only considered the graduation rate of 12th graders, without counting students who may have dropped out years earlier. 

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