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Report Contains Good News About New Jersey’s Graduating Class of 2014

Overall graduation rates are up slightly, as are those for African-American and Hispanic students

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New Jersey’s graduation rate keeps inching up -- at least for the time being.

The Christie administration yesterday released its annual report on the latest high school graduating class and said that 88.6 percent of the Class of 2014 graduated within four years, up a percentage point from the Class of 2013 and two points from 2012.

It was good news for a state that is already at or near the top nationwide in its graduation rate, depending on how it is counted.

And while significant gaps still remain, there were encouraging trends in the stronger gains among some subgroups, such as African-American and Hispanic students. Those four-year graduation rates were 76.9 percent and 80.9 percent, respectively, both increases of 2 percent from 2013. The graduation rate for white students is 93.5 percent, and 96.2 percent for Asian.

The number of dropouts dropped by 1,000 from two years earlier, with 3,766 counted as having quit the Class of 2014 over the previous four years.

This was also the first graduating class to have faced the latest changes in the state’s course-taking requirements, including that every student take a geometry class and at least two laboratory science.

But there is considerable uncertainly about coming years, while few were actually predicting a decline.

This was the last year of the state’s High School Proficiency Assessment, which was required to pass for graduation. In the class of 2014, 85 percent of the graduates passed the HSPA, while the balance either passed the alternative test or were exempt due to disabilities.

But the state is moving this spring to the new online tests under the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC), and it is unknown whether this supposedly higher bar will affect graduation rates.

Passing the PARCC will not be required in the first two years, but state officials said the Class of 2019 could be subject to new test requirements.

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