TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Idaho’s graduation rate is improving.

The Idaho Department of Education said overall 80.65 percent of the state’s high school students graduated in 2018, up from 79.67 percent in 2017.

It is the first time the rate has topped 80 percent, Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said in a news release on Thursday. In 2016 the graduation rate was 79.66 percent, and in 2015 it was 78.91 percent.

“Our graduation rates have been improving steadily, and the pace is accelerating,” she said.

Ybarra said the rate growth is particularly encouraging because 2018’s graduating class was larger than last year’s class by 370 students – up from 18,059 to 18,429.

Rates among online and alternative school students also are on the rise, as are the rates for various student subgroups such as black students, economically disadvantaged students and English learners, according to the news release. The graduation rate among Hispanics rose from 74.8 percent in 2017 to 75.9 percent in 2018.

The rate declined in one subgroup, however: only 58.5 percent of students with disabilities graduated in 2018, down from 60.9 in 2017 and 60.5 in 2016.

Ybarra said there is room for improvement in that area.

“The most important thing to remember is that these numbers represent children, and the state and our schools are committed to do everything we can to help those students find success in high school and beyond,” Ybarra said.

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