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Oregon high school graduation rate improves but lags US rate

By STEVEN DUBOIS
Of the Associated Press

PORTLAND — Oregon's high school graduation rate improved in 2016 but continues to lag behind the national average, education officials said Thursday.

Figures released by state education officials show 75 percent of students earned a diploma in four years, a one percentage point increase from the year before and almost 3 percentage points higher than in 2014.

Oregon regularly has one of the nation's lowest graduation rates — it was 48th in 2015— and the uptick still leaves it well below the 2015 national average of 83 percent.

Oregon has set a goal of a 100 percent graduation rate by 2025. No state graduates all of its high school students, though Iowa and New Jersey reached 90 percent in 2015.

All of Oregon's student demographic groups showed improvement, with the largest percentage gains made by black, Latino and Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students. Non-native English speakers and students with disabilities also made big gains.

Nearly 90 percent of Asian students graduated in four years while less than 80 percent of white, black, Latino and American Indian students did so.

Overall, 78 percent of Oregon's female students graduated in four years compared with 71 percent for male students.

“Although many of the gaps remain large, it is good news for all Oregonians when the disparity in graduation rates decreases,” Oregon schools chief Salam Noor said in a statement. “It is critical that we continue to work together to help Oregon students achieve at their highest potential.”

Family income continues to be a strong indicator of educational success for Oregon's high school students. Children from affluent families had an 84 percent high school graduation rate while 68 percent of economically disadvantaged students graduated in four years.

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