While Massachusetts didn't make the top 10 high school graduation rates in the nation, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Education on Monday, Belmont High School's graduation rate is not just well above the state average but one of highest in the state with nearly 98 out of a 100 gradutating in four years.
And by counting those who remain in school after four years, the actual drop out rate at BHS is about a half-of-one-percent.
According to the preliminary state-reported data, for the 2010-2011 school year, Massachusetts had a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of 83 percent, which ties for 11th highest in the nation with six other states. Iowa had the highest rate at 88 percent. (See the PDF attached to this article for full results.)
Meanwhile, according to the DESE website, for the 2010-2011 school year, Belmont High School had a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of 97.4 percent. Of those who did not graduate, about two percent are still in school while less than one percent actually dropped out.
Local Graduation Rate PercentagesCommunity Grad. Rate (%) Reading 98.2 Belmont 97.4 Arlington 97.0 Lexington 96.2 Winchester 95.7 Wakefield 95.6 Burlington 95.5 North Reading 95.2 N.E. Reg. Voke 94.8 Melrose 94.4 Wilmington 94.2 Stoneham 92.2 Billerica 88.3 Woburn 88.1 Watertown 87.3 Massachusetts 83
Where do the numbers come from?
The graduation rates released Monday are for the 2010-2011 school year—the first year for which all states used a common, adjusted four-year cohort graduation rate, according to a U.S. Department of Education press release.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) spokesman JC Considine told Patch in an e-mail that Massachusetts has been computing cohort graduation rates since 2006, which are available on the DESE website.
The new common methodology eliminates the problem of comparing graduation rates between states that use varying calculation methods, according to the U.S. Department of Education press release, and meets the requirements of federal regulations instituted in October 2008.
The new graduation rate measurement also accurately accounts for students who drop out or who do not earn a regular high school diploma, the press release said.
"By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in the press release. "Ultimately, these data will help states target support to ensure more students graduate on time, college and career ready."
Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville told the Boston Globe that comparisons between states still present challenges due to varying graduation standards.
Final rates are expected to be released in the coming months.