Iowa’s high school graduation rate has increased for the fifth year in the row, reaching a new high of 91.3 percent. However dropout rates also rose in the past year, up to 2.8 percent.
The two measurements track different cohorts of students. The graduation rate looks a single class over the course of four years, and the dropout rate counts the number of kids who quit high school in a single year.
Staci Hupp of the Iowa Department of Education says the latter metric on drop outs is a reminder that Iowa still has work to do.
"Districts are really digging into the data at an individual level to try to identify gaps, and try to get help to the students who need it," says Hupp. "For example the number of failing grades during the 9th Grade year is one indicator that chances are a student will need significant support to make it to graduation four years later."
Last year, 45 Iowa school districts had perfect four-year graduation rates. That means every student in those districts who began high school in 2012 graduated in 2016.