High school graduation rates rise in state
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com February 6, 2012 9:08PM
Members of the Lowell High School choir sing "When You Believe" during graduation exercises on Monday, June 20, 2011, at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Ind. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 8, 2012 8:11AM
Indiana students posted gains in both the waiver and nonwaiver graduation rates for the 2010-11 school year.
With waivers, 85.7 percent of students graduated, which was an increase of 1.6 percent over the previous year and 4.3 percent over the 2009 rate. The nonwaiver rate was 78.9 percent, continuing gains to 78.1 percent in 2010 and 75.6 percent in 2009.
Schools typically apply for waivers to cover students who don’t test well, particularly those who have not passed the state’s End-of-Course Assessments in English 10 and Algebra I and graduates with a Core 40 diploma. The largest number of waivers occured in Hammond with 133, followed by 119 in Gary, 74 in Portage and 42 in Merrillville.
Locally, Morgan Township High School, 21st Century Charter School in Gary and Kouts High School posted impressive nonwaiver graduation rates of 95.92 percent, 94.74 percent and 94.64 percent, respectively.
Hammond High School and East Chicago Central High School, which have been under state scrutiny for low graduation rates, showed improvement in 2010-11. Hammond High School’s nonwaiver rate jumped from 37.9 percent in 2010 to 57.5 percent in 2011. East Chicago’s nonwaiver rate increased by 13.6 percent to 60.7 percent in 2011.
Gary schools showed mixed results. Wirt/Emerson posted an 85.3 percent nonwaiver rate, but Lew Wallace and West Side experienced drops to 43.2 percent and 52.8 percent passing in 2011. Roosevelt, which faces state takeover, still is struggling at 46 percent, but it was a 7 percent increase from 2010.
With waivers, most Porter County high schools and about half those in Lake County achieved the state goal of graduating at least 90 percent of seniors during the 2010-11 school year. A record-high 171 public schools reached 90 percent or more of their students graduating in four years.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said that it marked the highest graduation rate for Indiana students since the state started measuring the four-year cohort graduation rate in 2005.
“I commend Indiana’s educators, students, parents and community members for their efforts to increase graduation rates,”‖ Bennett said in a statement. “In today’s world, graduating from high school with a meaningful diploma is critical to achieving any measure of success in life. To see so many more high school students reach this essential milestone is inspiring, and I am thankful for the hardworking teachers and leaders in our schools who helped them get there.”
Of the 14.3 percent of students who did not earn diplomas, the state reported that 6.1 percent were high school dropouts or undetermined. Other nongraduates include students who earned General Education Development diplomas (0.4 percent), special education certificates (1.2 percent), nondiploma course completion certificates (0.2 percent) and those still enrolled in school (6.3 percent).