BOISE, Idaho – Most of Idaho’s high school seniors are graduating, according to new data released by the Idaho Department of Education.  But the state superintendent wants to help those seniors who struggle to make it through high school.

Eight in 10 high school seniors graduated in 2017, Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said in a prepared statement on Wednesday. That number was only a slight improvement over the year previous.

She said more than 36 percent of Idaho’s high schools graduate students at a rate of 90 percent or higher. The state’s graduation rate was 79.67 in 2017, up from 79.66 percent in 2016 and 78.91 in 2015.

While she is pleased with the increase, Ybarra said there is still room for improvement.

“It is exciting to have three years of data using the same formula to calculate rates,” she said, noting that her staff is trying to identify trends. "Did some of them move out of state? Did they earn GEDs (equivalency certificates that do not count in graduation rates)? Did they simply not finish in the time allotted? Finding out the answers will help us understand how to help them.”

The department explains:

Some students need more time:  The State Department of Education will add a five-year cohort for graduation-rate calculations that will help determine how many Idaho students are graduating a year later than the traditional four-year cohort allows.

To illustrate that point: Of the 4,604 students who did not graduate with their 2017 class, 21 percent or 1,005 returned to school this year. Some – 32 – have completed their graduation requirements and received their diploma. The remaining are still enrolled.

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