Almost 90 Percent of Virginia High School Students Graduated on Time in 2013

Minority, Overall Percentages Rise Over Six Years

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    Almost 90 percent of students across Virginia graduated on time this year, Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a press release Tuesday.

    Dropout rates also fell across the board.

    The Virginia Department of Education began reporting state graduation rates in 2008. According to the release, four-year graduation rates increased 7.8 percent since then.

    During the same six years, graduation for black and Latino students rose by 10.1 and 12.1 percent, respectively.

    In total, more than 85,500 of the state's about 96,000 students received their diplomas within four years.

    But dropout rates remained high for minority and economically disadvantaged students. While only 4 percent of white students dropped out, the rate was more than 8 percent among the state's black, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged students.

    Students who spoke limited English (15.5 percent) and homeless students (16.4 percent) dropped out at the highest rates.

    However, McDonnell said many of those groups saw decreased percentages from the year before. Statewide, the dropout rate fell from 6.5 to 5.9 percent, a difference of almost 600 students.

    Among those who graduated, more than half received an Advanced Studies diploma. To receive one, students must take a certain number of Advanced Placement classes as well as a foreign language requirement.

    Forty percent of graduates received a Standard diploma, and an additional 3,500 graduates received modified standard or special diplomas, which are only available to students with disabilities.