Mich.'s 4-year high school graduation rate passes 78%

Shawn D. Lewis
The Detroit News

Michigan's statewide graduation rate rose last year for the third straight year, while dropout rates are falling, according to state data released Thursday.

For 2013-14, the state's four-year graduation rate was 78.58 percent, up from 76.96 percent in 2012-13, 76.24 percent in 2011-12 and 74.33 percent in 2010-11.

Of Michigan's 124,279 high school seniors, 97,664 graduated in four years, while 11,943 dropped out.

"We have seen a steady and impressive increase in graduation rates since 2011, when the more rigorous Michigan Merit Curriculum requirements took full effect," Thomas Howell, director of the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information, said in a statement.

CEPI reported that graduation rates rose from 2012-13 to 2013-14 in all 10 of the districts with the biggest graduating classes, including Detroit Public Schools, which rose from 64.55 percent to 71.05 percent.

"This 6.5 percentage point gain in our graduation rate — and our 11 percentage point gain since 2010-11 — shows that our academic plan is working, particularly at the high school level," said Karen Ridgeway, DPS superintendent of academics.

Other large districts with gains included Utica Community Schools, up from 90.51 percent to 90.67 percent, Dearborn City School District, up from 86.17 percent to 87.02 percent and Rochester Community Schools, up from 93.91 percent to 95.42 percent.

"We're very pleased to once again see our graduation rates increase," said David Mustonen, a Dearborn schools spokesman. "We want to thank all of our staff for their dedication to teaching and our students who are committed to academic success."

Michigan's 2013-14 dropout rate was 9.61 percent, down 0.93 percentage points from last year.

CEPI calculates graduation rates by following individual students from the time they enroll as ninth-graders.

The agency also reports rates for students who remain in high school five and six years. The five-year graduation rate edged up 0.6 percentage points to 80.41 percent, and the 6-year rate improved by 1.17 percentage points, to 80.68 percent.

Big districts gain

Michigan districts with the biggest 2014 graduating classes all had graduation rates rise.

Detroit: 71.05 percent, up from 64.55 percent

Utica: 90.67 percent, up from 90.51 percent

Plymouth-Canton: 88.50 percent

Dearborn: 87.02 percent, up from 86.17 percent

Ann Arbor: 89.25 percent, up from 86.53 percent

Chippewa Valley: 89.38 percent, up from 88.24 percent

Livonia: 90.54 percent, up from 90.05 percent

Rochester: 95.42 percent, up from 93.91 percent.