EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Utah high school graduation rate climbs for eighth consecutive year

Dec 11, 2020, 11:02 AM

utah commencement...

With graduation ceremonies being largely canceled in 2020 because of rising coronavirus numbers, many Utah colleges are approaching commencement in a different way. (PHOTO: Adobe Stock)

(PHOTO: Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The percentage of Utah students graduating from high school rose for an eighth straight year.

Utah high school graduation rate makes gains

New data released from the Utah State Board of Education shows the uptick in the state graduation rate.

Last spring, 43,389 students graduated from Utah’s public schools. That number represents just over 88% of students who entered as freshmen four years earlier, up 0.8% from 2019.

Additionally, graduation rates of students who identify as African American or Black increased by 4.4%. Students who are economically disadvantaged saw a 1.1% increase. In fact, graduation rates rose in 7 of 9 demographic groups, only declining among students who identify as Native American or Asian.

Students remain resilient

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson says Utah students have “showed remarkable resiliency” given that graduation rates continue to improve despite various obstacles created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“While graduation ceremonies looked different last spring, efforts to support students to demonstrate readiness to graduate through remote learning paid off. We commend students, parents, educators and all those involved in the ecosystem of education in helping our students have choices for their future through taking this first step of high school graduation,” Dickson said in a statement.

White students had the highest graduation rate for 2020 with 90.7% meeting graduation requirements. Meanwhile, Black students in Utah saw the largest graduation rate gain, from 74.8% of students graduating to 79.2%.

Female students in Utah had a higher graduation rate than males at 90.6% compared to 85.9%, although both groups’ slightly improved from 2018.

Of the state’s largest school districts, Cache School District had the highest average graduation rate at 95%. Following close behind was Davis at 94.2% and Alpine, Park City and Washington, all at 93%.

In Salt Lake County, Canyons District had the highest average graduation rate at 90.4%.

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Utah high school graduation rate climbs for eighth consecutive year