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February 7, 2018
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Releases 2013 Cohort High School Graduation Rates

Graduation Rate Continues Upward Trend, Rises to 80.2%

State Meets Federal Graduation Rate Goal, But Gaps in Achievement Persist

Board of Regents & State Education Department Remain Focused on Providing Equity in Education for All Students

Video of Commissioner Elia Discussing Results

Video of Commissioner Elia Question & Answer

Audio of Commissioner Elia Question & Answer

The New York State Education Department today released high school graduation rates for the 2013 cohort, students who entered 9th grade in 2013. The overall graduation rate increased to 80.2 percent, up 0.5 percentage points from 79.7* percent for the 2012 cohort. The 2013 cohort graduation rate is more than 11 percentage points higher than it was a decade earlier, when the 2003 cohort graduation rate was 68.6 percent.

June Graduation Rates

2012 Cohort            2013 Cohort           % Point Change

    79.7                           80.2                         +0.5 

2003 Cohort            2013 Cohort            % Point Change

     68.6                           80.2                        +11.6  

When August graduates are included, the 2013 cohort graduation rate increased to 82.1 percent, which exceeds the goal established for federal accountability in 2010 to have 80 percent of students graduate by August of their fourth year in high school. The state’s graduation rate is on track to meet its first Every Student Succeeds Act plan long-term goal for graduation rate of 83.9 percent in 2021-22.  Despite this, significant achievement gaps exist.

2013 Cohort Graduation Rates 

June            August        % Point Change

80.2              82.1              +1.9

This year’s graduation rate improved for black and Hispanic students, for students with disabilities, and in four of the state’s Big 5 city school districts. While the graduation rate declined slightly for current English language learners (ELLs), it improved again for Ever ELLs.

"The Regents and I are focused on providing greater equity for students throughout the entire education system," Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. "When we achieve greater equity, we will see student achievement improve across the board - and that will result in greater numbers of students graduating, regardless of their race, ethnicity, wealth, disability status, or any other basis. The Board of Regents will continue its efforts to foster educational equity for all New York schools and children.”

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, “New York’s graduation rate continues its steady, upward trend. We see incremental improvements across the State, holding onto last year’s gains and slowly building upon them. And that’s good news. At the same time, however, troubling gaps in achievement persist, and we must accelerate the pace of improvement. With its focus on equity, the State’s newly approved ESSA plan will help drive the changes we need to ensure all children have the same opportunities for success.” 

2013 Cohort Graduation Rate Data for the Big 5 City School Districts

Graduation rates reported by four of the Big 5 City School Districts surpassed the statewide growth of 0.5 percentage points. Rochester and Yonkers experienced significant improvements; for the first time, the graduation rate in a Big 5 city school district, Yonkers, exceeded the statewide rate.

Big 5 City School District Cohort Graduation Rates

                                          2012          2013          % Pointe Change
Statewide                          79.7           80.2             +0.5

NYC                                  70.0           71.1             +1.1  

Buffalo                              61.7           62.7              +1.0  

Rochester                          47.7           51.9              +4.2  

Syracuse                            61.0           60.5              -0.5

Yonkers                             78.3           82.8              +4.5


2013 Cohort Graduation Rate Data by Need/Resource Group

Graduation rates in all Need/Resource Groups improved slightly or remained flat, except high-need Urban-Suburban districts, which fell slightly. Average- and low-need districts continue to have the highest graduation rates.  High Need, Large City schools experienced growth larger than the statewide average at 2.3 percentage points, however, they continue to have the lowest graduation rates. A significant gap persists between the graduation rates of high- and low-need districts. For the 2013 cohort, 94.8 percent of students in low-need districts graduated in four years, while only 63.9 percent of students in high-need Large City districts (i.e., Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers combined) did so.

The charter school graduation rate continued to improve, from 72.4 percent for the 2012 cohort to 74.8 percent for the 2013 cohort. While still a small portion of the overall 2013 cohort (2.3%), there has been a considerable increase in the number of charter school students in the cohort. The pace of growth in graduation rate at charters has slowed since last year, while the number of students enrolled at charters continues to increase.

Cohort Graduation Rate Data by Race/ Ethnicity

A large achievement gap – approximately 20 percentage points – persists when comparing the graduation rate of black and Hispanic students with their white peers, though that gap has narrowed slightly over the past two years. The Regents and Department will continue their efforts to close this gap through the implementation of the State’s ESSA plan and the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, aimed at bringing greater fairness throughout the education system.

Cohort Graduation Rates by Race/Ethnicity 

                             2012        2013       % Point Change
Black                    68.2         69.3         +1.6              

Hispanic               68.0         68.4         +0.8 

White                    88.7         89.0         +0.7 


Difference in Graduation Rates by Race

                                2011        2012        2013         %Point Change
Black/White            23.5         20.5         19.7             -3.8

 Hispanic/White      23.5         20.7          20.6            -2.9     

Cohort Graduation Rate Data for English Language Learners

The graduation rate for “Ever ELLs” (students identified as English language learners in any school year preceding the school year of their last enrollment – but excluding students who are “Current ELLs”) continue to show strong progress, improving from a graduation rate of 82.1 percent for the 2012 cohort to 84.4 percent for the 2013 cohort – significantly outpacing the statewide average of 80.2 percent.

The graduation rate for “Current ELLs” (students who were identified as ELLs during the school year of their last enrollment), however, continues to lag far behind the statewide rate, with only 26.6 percent of the 2013 cohort graduating on time – down slightly from the 2012 cohort rate of 26.9 percent.

Cohort Graduation Rates for English Language Learners

                                         2012           2013           % Point Change
Ever ELLs                         82.1           84.4             +2.3

Current ELLs                    26.9            26.6             -0.3

2013 Cohort Graduation Rate Data for Students with Disabilities and by Gender

The graduation rate for students with disabilities improved again this year, moving from 52.8 percent for the 2012 cohort to 54.2 percent for the 2013 cohort. Female students continued to graduate at a higher rate than their male peers, with 2013 cohort graduation rates at 84.1 percent for females and 76.5 percent for males – both representing small gains over last year’s rates.

2013 Cohort Dropout Rate Data

The percentage of students who dropped out of school remained relatively flat this year, declining from 6.5 percent for the 2012 cohort to 6.2 percent for the 2013 cohort. Despite this small overall improvement, the percentage of Current ELL students statewide who dropped out increased by 1.7 percentage points, from 28 percent for the 2012 cohort to 29.7 percent for the 2013 cohort. The dropout rate for students with disabilities improved slightly this year, decreasing from 12.3 percent for the 2012 cohort to 11.6 percent for the 2013 cohort. 


Cohort Dropout Rates

                                                  2012           2013               %Point Change

Statewide                                   6.5               6.2                   -0.3

Current ELLs                             28.0             29.7                +1.7

Students with Disabilities          12.3             11.6                 -0.7

Four, Five and Six-Year Graduation Rate Data

As in previous years, the data show that persistence pays off. For the 2011 statewide cohort, the four-year graduation rate was 78.1 percent; students continuing to a fifth year improved the rate to 83.5 percent; and a sixth year improved the rate even further, to 84.9 percent. The 2012 cohort five-year graduation rate increased by nearly 5 percentage points to 84.5 percent, up from the four-year graduation rate of 79.7 percent.

Current ELL students demonstrated significant increases in graduation rates given additional time and continued services. For the 2011 cohort, the four-year Current ELL graduation rate was 33.8 percent; the five-year rate rose to 44.9 percent; and the six-year rate reached 48.3 percent. That is an increase of more than 14 percentage points and represents 1,100 more students willing to put in the extra time to earn a diploma. For the 2012 cohort, the four-year Current ELL graduation rate was 26.9 percent and the five-year rate rose significantly to 36.8 percent.

Cohort 4, 5 & 6-Year Graduation Rates

                                  4-Year     5-Year     6-Year     % Point Change

2012 Statewide         79.7           84.5                              +4.8

2012 Current ELL     26.9          36.8                               +9.9  

2011 Statewide         78.1           83.5         84.9               +6.8

2011 Current ELL     33.8           44.9         48.3               +14.5          

Multiple Pathways to Graduation

The Board of Regents is committed to providing multiple pathways for students to earn a regular high school diploma, and the Board has approved regulations to establish multiple, comparably rigorous assessment pathways to graduation for all students. By offering these multiple pathways, the Board recognizes the importance of engaging students in rigorous and relevant academic programs. Specifically, Regents-approved regulations recognize students’ interests in the Arts; Languages Other Than English; Career and Technical Education; Humanities; and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by allowing an approved pathway assessment to meet the students’ graduation requirements; more information about these Multiple Pathways is available on the Department’s website.

In addition, at its June 2016 meeting, the Board of Regents permanently approved regulations to establish a new Career Development Occupational Studies (CDOS) graduation pathway for all students. The CDOS Commencement Credential certifies that a student has the standards-based knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level employment. Previously, only students with disabilities could exit school with a New York State CDOS Commencement Credential. These regulations expanded to all students the opportunity to earn the CDOS Commencement Credential.

For the 2016-17 school year, the Department implemented a new system to collect and report data on the number of students who earn a diploma through one of the new multiple pathways to graduation. That data, available today for the first time, shows that school districts reported more than 9,900 students earned a diploma through one of the new pathways. These graduates are included within the overall graduation rate numbers announced today.

Safety Net Options for Students with Disabilities

In 2016, the Board of Regents also acted to enable superintendents to make a local determination as to the academic proficiency of certain students with disabilities seeking to graduate with a local diploma and began requiring that a parent or guardian request this option for their child. In 2017, the Board expanded the superintendent determination to allow the CDOS credential as a safety net for students with disabilities who pass their Regents coursework but do not pass the ELA or math Regents exams. (Note: changes to the CDOS safety net regulations were adopted in December 2017 and, therefore, are not reflected in the 2013 cohort graduation rate). In school year 2016-17, 315 students with disabilities received diplomas through a superintendent’s determination.

Data Collection & Verification

The graduation data is reported by educational institutions to SED throughout the school year. The cohort 2013 graduation rate data was available for verification until the close of the state data warehouse in August 2017. District superintendents certified the data in September 2017.  For more specific data points and for school- and district-level graduation data, visit the Department’s public data site. A PowerPoint presentation with additional data is also available


*Note: last year we announced a statewide graduation rate of 79.4 percent, but a one-time-only data correction changed that number to the correct rate of 79.7 percent. All references in today’s data release are to the corrected district and statewide rates.

Conference Call with Commissioner Elia:

Commissioner Elia will conduct a conference call for reporters at 11 a.m. with a PowerPoint presentation that can be joined by webinar. For call-in information, please contact the NYSED Office of Communications via email at: