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Mayor Bowser Announces Increase in Public School Graduation Rates

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
For the First Time, Graduation Rates at DC’s Public High Schools Exceed 70 Percent

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser announced that for the first time since the District began using the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate in 2011, the graduation rate at the city’s public schools exceeded 70 percent during the 2016-2017 school year. The 2016-2017 graduation rate for public high schools increased by 3.2 percent over the previous school year, with 72.4 percent of students graduating in four years.

“Ten years ago, our city committed to giving all students a fair shot at success, and today, these historic graduation rates are more proof that our efforts and investments are paying off,” said Mayor Bowser. “These graduation rates are a reminder that when we have high expectations for our young people and we back up those expectations with robust programs and resources, our students can and will achieve at high levels.”

The graduation rate for DC Public Schools (DCPS) rose to 73.2 percent, up from 69 percent, and the graduation rate for public charter schools increased to 73.4 percent, up from 72.9 percent. The adjusted cohort consisted of 4,748 students who entered ninth grade in the 2013-2014 school year. Of those students, 3,436 graduated high school in spring 2017. The Class of 2017’s four-year graduation rate is 13.8 percent higher than the Class of 2011’s.

District of Columbia Statewide Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate
School Year 2016-17 2015-16 2014-15 2013-14 2012-13 2011-12 2010-11
ACGR (%) 72.4% 69.2% 65.4% 61.4% 61.5% 61% 58.58%

“I continue to be impressed by the gains our students are making each year. This year alone, we know that more families are choosing our public schools, more students are excelling academically, and more young people are graduating on time,” said Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles. “I am excited to continue partnering with our DCPS and public charter schools to ensure every student in our city graduates prepared for college and the future careers.”

The District uses the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) to maintain a consistent standard for high school graduation rate reporting. Under the ACGR, a cohort of students who entered school as first-time ninth graders in the 2013-2014 school year was tracked for four years to determine the total number of students who graduated from high school in the 2016-2017 school year with a regular diploma.

“The increases we are seeing in the number of students graduating on time are a reflection of the hard work of our students and educators as well as the unwavering commitment of our families and community to the success of our students,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang.

Accelerating school reform continues to be a top priority for Mayor Bowser. In her fiscal year 2018 budget, the Mayor invested $1.74 billion in public education, an increase of $121 million over last year’s budget and the largest investment in public education in the city’s history. In addition, the teachers’ contract will provide an additional $110.5 million to DCPS and an additional $92.6 million to public charter schools from FY2017 to FY2021.