The Florence-Carlton School District, the Hamilton School District and the Corvallis School District all boast a higher cohort graduation rate than the statewide average of 84.4 percent, according to a new report from the Montana Office of Public Instruction.
Florence features a cohort graduation rate - the percentage of students from a grade group who earn a diploma in four years - of 92.3 percent, while Hamilton’s is 89.9 percent and Corvallis’ rate is 89.6 percent.
The graduation rates of the other three school districts with high schools in the valley are all below the statewide average. Darby’s cohort graduation rate is 77.1 percent, Stevensville’s is 82.1 percent and Victor’s is 79.2 percent.
However, five of the school districts have a lower dropout rate – the percentage of kids who left high school after enrolling at the start of the academic year - than the statewide average of 3.6 percent.
The numbers don’t tell the whole story, however, as one or two students who drop out at a smaller school like Darby affect the dropout percentage and the graduation rate more drastically than it would at a larger school district.
The Victor School District features the lowest dropout rate at 1 percent, followed by Hamilton at 1.1 percent. Corvallis is right behind at 1.4 percent, Stevensville is at 2.8 percent, Florence is at 3.4 percent and Darby is at 8 percent.
Montana’s high school dropout rate has declined for the third time in four years, according to the report.
The dropout count is a one-year snapshot. It’s calculated as the number of dropouts divided by the enrollment for the previous year.
The graduating class of 2010-2011 was the first cohort for which the Office of Public Instruction was able to calculate a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate. This rate is the percentage of students in a cohort, adjusted for transfers in and out of school, district, or state, that graduate with a regular high school diploma within four years of the student’s first enrollment in ninth grade. For the graduating class of 2012-2013, the cohort began ninth grade in the fall of 2009.
This is the third year the OPI has had the data to calculate the four-year adjusted cohort rate.
The cohort graduation rate has increased from 82.2 percent in 2011 to 84.4 percent in 2013.
Just like in previous years, across the state more males than females dropped out and the gap between male and female dropout rates increases as the grades increase. Statewide, the male dropout rate is 1.9 percent in ninth grade and 1.6 for females. In 12th grade, that percentage jumps to 6.5 percent for males and 3.8 percent for females.
The dropout for American Indian students in grades 7-12 decreased from 6.9 percent to 6.3 percent statewide from last year.
To view the full report visit online at http://missoulian.com/graduation-and-dropout-report/pdf_8f481f94-8e06-11e3-8f65-0019bb2963f4.html
Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.