NYC High School Graduation Rate Hits An All-Time High

NYC High School Graduation Rate Hits An All-Time High

More students than ever are earning their high school diploma.

New York City’s high school graduation rate reached a record high last year, with 74.3 percent of students receiving their diploma. This marked a 1.2 percent increase from 2016, and continued a long-term uptick in the city’s graduation rate, which has risen 28 points since 2005.

The graduation rates for students still learning English also increased slightly, from 31 percent in 2016 to 32.5 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, the dropout rate has steadily declined to an all-time low—7.8 percent.

“New York City is showing that when we invest in our students, they rise to the challenge and do better and better,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement.

New Rules

The rising graduation rates follow a set of changes New York State has made in recent years to help more students earn diplomas. These changes include permitting students with disabilities to earn a diploma by passing fewer exit exams, and allowing more students the right to appeal a failed exam score.

Additionally, students may substitute one of five Regents exams for a Career Development and Occupational Students (CDOS) credential, signifying work readiness. The CDOS is one of a number of alternative tests the state has made available over the past few years.

According to state officials, in 2017, about 9,900 students took advantage of an alternative-test or credential option, while 315 students with disabilities used the new option for them. In 2016, around 1,300 students successfully appealed a failed test score; no statistics for 2017 are available.

College Readiness at 64 Percent

Among the city’s 2017 high school graduates, 64 percent also earned test scores determining that they were ready for college-level work, in accordance with City University of New York’s benchmark standards. While CUNY has also eased its admission requirements, its academic standards are still some of the most rigorous in the country.

Deputy Chancellor Phil Weinberg of the education department said they are working on decreasing the number of students that need remedial classes.

“We will work toward making sure none of our students need remediation when they get to college,” Weinberg said in a statement. “But that’s a long game for us and we continue to move in that direction.”