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PR- 209-13
June 17, 2013


City’s Four-Year Graduation Rate Holds Steady at 64.7 Percent as Students Meet New Standards, the Most Rigorous in State History

More Students Graduating with Regents Diplomas and Five- and Six-Year Graduation Rates Continue to Rise as Dropout Rate Hits All-Time Low

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced that New York City’s graduation rate held steady at 64.7 percent as students met new graduation requirements – the most rigorous in State history – building on the historic public school gains made over the last decade. New York State’s graduation requirements have become increasingly more demanding – yet City graduation rates have risen by more than 39 percent since 2005, resulting in the graduation of an additional 57,000 students. Standards increased again for the class of 2012, when for the first time students were required to pass all five Regents exams by earning a 65 or higher to graduate. Using the 2011 graduation requirements, the City’s graduation rate for the class of 2012 would have been 1.4 points higher at 66.1 percent. The number of students who earned Regents diplomas rose by 10 percent in 2012, and has more than doubled since 2005 from 30 percent to 61.5 percent. Dropout rates have fallen since 2005 – from 22 to 11.4 percent last year. At the same time, five- and six-year graduation rates continue to rise, with 71.1 percent of students graduating in five years and 73.2 percent graduating in six years. New York City also continued to outperform the other “Big Five” largest cities in the State. Since 2005, when the City’s graduation rate was the same as the Big Five, New York City has outperformed these cities by 11.5 points.

“Over the last 10 years, our students have made tremendous gains, meeting higher standards and learning the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Since taking control of a failing school system, graduation rates have increased even as requirements have become harder, fewer students are dropping out and more are taking the time to earn their diplomas. These gains would not have happened under our once-failing school system, and demonstrate how effective the school reforms we’ve put in place continue to be for our students and their families.”

“We continue to raise the bar and our students continue to rise to the challenge,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott. “As standards increase for students at all grade levels, we must continue to support the reforms that have enabled these gains and not turn back the clock on our students. Today, more students go to high quality schools where teachers know each student well, and support all students on their path towards success in college and careers. For some students, achieving higher standards takes more time—and I’m proud that more students than ever before are staying in school and graduating after five or six years. I want to thank our principals, teachers, parents and students for their hard work and dedication.”

Since 2005, graduation rates have risen by more than 39 percent from 46.5 percent to 64.7 percent for the class of 2012. The unprecedented gains followed years of stagnant graduation rates, even while the State continued to raise education standards – the most recent of which was adopted for the 2012 graduating class. For the first time, students were required to score a 65 or higher on all five core subject Regents exams, an adjustment of the 2011 standards that allowed students to graduate with a 65 or higher on four exams and a 55 or higher on one exam.

As graduation rates have risen, so has the rate of students earning Regents diplomas: in 2012, 61.5 percent of students earned a Regents diploma, compared to 30 percent in 2005. The improvement on student outcomes has been measured across all ethnicity groups: Black students have seen a 50 percent increase in graduation rates since 2005; Hispanic students a 54 percent increase, Asian students a 24 percent increase and White students a 22 percent increase. The Black-White achievement gap in graduation rates has closed by 23 percent since 2005, while the Hispanic-White gap has closed 23 percent.

Dropout rates have also fallen dramatically since 2005, from 22 percent to 11.4 percent in 2012. As more students remain in school, more are completing high school diploma requirements with five- and six-year graduation rates increasing from 62.6 percent in 2008 to 71.1 percent in 2012 and 65.6 percent in 2009 to 73.2 percent in 2012, for five- and six-year rates respectively.

New schools opened since 2002 – a central Bloomberg Administration education reform initiative – continued to outperform the schools they replaced. In 2006, all phasing out high schools had had a graduation rate of 38 percent. In 2012, all new high schools had a graduation rate of 70.5 percent, an increase of 0.4 percent since last year.

The English Language Learners’ (ELLs) four year graduation rate saw a nearly 5-point drop due to the higher standards this year. However, ELL students’ five- and six-year graduation rates continue to increase. The former ELL graduation rate is more than 20 percent higher than the citywide average at 78.9 percent. This fall, the Department of Education will allocate additional funding for 25 schools that need the most support with additional training for teachers on best practices for ELL instruction and new support for principals by pairing each of these schools with a successful school that has done strong work with its ELL population. The Department will also expand funding to meet the needs of ELL’s by offering over 2 million in new grants to high schools so they can offer extended day options, online courses, expand bilingual programs and buy additional instructional materials. In addition, the DOE will expand its investment in teacher quality by partnering with local universities to train more teachers with expertise in bilingual education.

More students graduated college ready this year using both the State’s Regents Aspirational Performance Measure (APM) and New York City’s more comprehensive College Ready Index (CRI). The percent of class of 2012 graduates achieving the APM hit a high of 34.3 percent, and the percent achieving the CRI benchmark was 43.6 percent. The APM is based solely on Regents exam scores while the CRI reflects CUNY’s remediation standard and includes achievement on additional rigorous assessments such as the SAT, ACT, and CUNY’s Admission Test. 


Marc LaVorgna/Lauren Passalacqua   (212) 788-2958

Erin Hughes (DOE)   (212) 374-5141


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