Statewide Graduation Rates rise; Providence Rates Stable

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has released high school graduation rates for the Class of 2014, which indicates a one-percentage point improvement over the previous year statewide and a 5.5 percent improvement since 2009.

For the Class of 2014, the graduation rate rose to 81 percent while the dropout rate declined to 8 percent, a 1-point improvement over the previous year and a 6-point improvement since 2009.

According to RIDE, the improvements attained in 2014, especially in dropout rates, are consistent across a range of student groups. The dropout rate for black students (11.5 percent) marks a 6.5-point improvement since 2009.  The dropout rate for Hispanic students (13 percent) marks a 10-point improvement in the last five years. Similarly, since 2009, dropout rates for economically disadvantaged students  have fallen by 8.5 points (to 12.5 percent), dropout rates for students with disabilities have fallen by 7 points (to 16 percent), and dropout rates for English learners have fallen by 10 points (to 14.5 percent).

Recognizing that some students need more than the traditional four years to complete their schoolwork and earn a diploma, the R.I. Department of Education also calculates and reports the 5-year graduation rate. The 5-year graduation rate for 2014 improved by 3 points over the previous year and stands at 83.5 percent, a 5-point improvement since 2009.

Providence Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi issued the following statement on the newly-released graduation rates:

The Providence Public School District and each of our high schools have been striving to increase graduation rates, and we are pleased to note that not only are we proud of progress we’ve made in recent years in the 4-year rate, but that we have seen our 5- and 6-year rates continue to grow. Our 4-year rate saw a marked increase between 2012 and 2013, moving from 66% to 72%, and only saw a one-percentage-point dip this year, despite the Class of 2014 facing a tumultuous finale to their high school careers with the public debate around NECAP testing. We also realize that for a variety of reasons, a fifth year of high school may be one of the most beneficial things we can do for a student. We want our Providence graduates to leave us ready for college and career, in whatever span of time may be appropriate for that student. We are confident that we will continue to see our completion rates rise in the 4-year measure and beyond.