From the Department of Public Instruction
Wisconsin had 57,698 students graduate from high school with a regular diploma in 2015, a graduation rate of 88.4 percent that bests the national rate of 82.3 percent (Class of 2014). Wisconsin’s graduation rate remained largely unchanged from 2014, down two-tenths of a percent.
“First of all, hats off to our 2015 graduates, many of whom will soon finish up their first year of postsecondary study at a technical college or university,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “High school graduation is a milestone; a bridge to the next steps in life. So, for the more than 7,000 students who didn’t graduate last spring, there are resources to help you get back on track to earn a high school credential.”
Both state and federal law provide additional time for students to complete their high school education, recognizing that illness or injury, personal or family events, and lifetime or temporary disabilities can make it difficult for some students to finish high school in four years. In Wisconsin, an additional 1,480 students who were in the Class of 2014 cohort earned a regular diploma, taking an extra year to do so. The 2014-15 five-year graduation rate is 91.6 percent. For the Class of 2013 cohort, an additional 2,133 students earned a diploma in six years after starting high school. The 2014-15 six-year graduation rate is 92.1 percent.
“Wisconsin has always given young people the right to a public education from the ages of 4 to 20,” Evers stated. “As the founders of our state adopted our constitution, they recognized that a high school diploma means something and wanted to offer that opportunity to finish, even if it takes more than the ‘typical’ four years.”
Graduation rates for 2014-15 by racial and ethnic groups are mostly higher than they were five years ago, though race and ethnicity reporting changes in the 2010-11 school year necessitate caution in making comparisons.
The graduation rates for students with disabilities and those from economically disadvantaged families also are higher than they were five years ago. The 2014-15 graduation rates for students learning English are lower when compared to the prior year and five years ago.
This is the third year that the Department of Public Instruction is reporting graduation rates through the Wisconsin Information System for Education Dashboard Public Portal (WISEdash). Under the federal graduation rate definition, each student is assigned to a cohort when entering high school, the 2011-12 school year for the graduating class of 2015. The cohort is adjusted for students who transfer to another state or nonpublic school, emigrate to another country, or die during the timeframe. The graduation rate is based on students who earn a regular high school diploma in four years or less. For the Class of 2015, there were 133 students who earned a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) and 105 who earned another completion credential during the four years since they entered high school. Those students are not included in the federal four-year graduation rate.
“There’s no doubt that the future is brighter for those who finish high school,” Evers said. “And, we’re looking to the future by refining and implementing Academic and Career Plans (ACP). The ACP process for students, their parents, and teachers helps our kids identify academic strengths and interests beginning in middle school. By starting before high school, students engage in their education early and stay on track to graduate ready for college and careers.”