Mass. high school dropout rate at 30-year low

Four-year graduation rate for the class of 2014 was 86.1 percent

Mashpee High School has the Cape’s highest dropout rate

The overall graduation rate of Massachusetts high schools continued to improve during the last school year and dropouts are at a three-decade low, though stark contrasts remain and not every district enjoyed success.

Statewide, the four-year graduation rate for the class of 2014 was 86.1 percent, the eighth year of improvement in that metric, and the dropout rate for the 2013-2014 school year was 2 percent, the "lowest rate that we have seen in more than three decades," according to Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester.

"This is remarkable progress," Chester said on a conference call Monday. He said, "We live in a world today where a high school diploma is a minimum credential."

Chester said some of the strongest growth in the graduation rates occurred in the population of African American men and Hispanic men and women.

Cape schools win and lose

Only Falmouth, Nauset and Sandwich had dropout rates lower than the state average, but Barnstable, Bourne, Mashpee, Dennis-Yarmouth and Monomoy  (formerly Chatham and Harwich) were higher than the state average dropout rate. [Click here for a PDF of the Cape's 2013-2014 dropout rates]

The dropout rates continue to vary greatly from district to district and from school to school. In Springfield, the dropout rate was 7.2 percent, up from 6.5 percent in the 2012-2013 school year.

Meanwhile several school districts including Hatfield, Longmeadow, Wayland and Weston saw no students drop out in the last school year.

Chester highlighted the progress in Lawrence, where the dropout rate fell from 5.8 percent two years ago to 4.6 percent last year, and said no matter the district "knowing which students are at risk," especially in freshman year of high school, is critical to preventing dropouts.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education noted the number of dropouts has dropped from 11,436 in the 2006-2007 school year to 5,746 in the last school year. The education department said the graduation rate for the 2014 cohort was 6.2 percent higher than the 2006 cohort, the first class that was measured by the department.

Read the report in today's Boston Globe here.


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