March 14, 2014

Iowa's statewide four-year graduation rate has increased for the third consecutive year according to figures released Thursday by the Iowa Department of Education. Simultaneously, the statewide drop-out rate has fallen for the third consecutive year.

The 2013 Iowa graduation rate was 89.68 percent, representing 29,977 of the state's 33,426 students. This rate is up from 89.26 percent in 2012 and 88.32 percent in 2011.

The drop-out rate for the 2012-13 school year was 2.82, representing 4,108 students. This rate is down from 3.2 percent and 3.38 percent in the two years prior.

Five of the nine area public school districts in the Daily Times Herald regional coverage area saw 100 percent graduation rates last year -Ar-We-Va had 27 graduates; Audubon, 53 graduates; Coon Rapids-Bayard, 21 graduates; East Sac County, 60 graduates; and Glidden-Ralston, 25 graduates.

IKM-Manning led the remaining districts with a 98.21 percent graduation rate, with 55 out of 56 seniors graduating.

Carroll Community Schools had 135 of 148 students complete their studies for a graduation rate of 91.22 percent.

Jefferson-Scranton, soon to be Greene County School District, followed close behind with a graduation rate of 90.59, with 77 of 85 students completing high school.

Only South Central Calhoun fell below the statewide rate, just barely, with 66 out of 74 seniors graduating, a rate of 89.19 percent.

Iowa's graduation rates are calculated with a formula established by the U.S. Department of Education. Unique student identification numbers allow districts to track all freshmen students as they move through high school, even if the student switches schools.

The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2013 increased from the previous year in 170 school districts (54 percent) out of the 316 Iowa districts that had high schools, according to Department of Education data. Thirteen school districts (4 percent) saw no change in their graduation rates from the year before, while 133 districts (42 percent) saw a decrease.

The district in the state with the lowest graduation rate was Waterloo with 70.46 percent.