Idaho’s 2017 high school graduation rate is unchanged from the previous year. According to data released by the State Department of Education, 79.7 percent of eligible Gem State students graduated last year, just .01 percent above 2016, or about two students statewide.
State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra pointed to bright spots, in urban and rural areas alike, as 36 percent of the state’s high schools posted graduation rates of more than 90 percent. But she also noted that virtual and alternative high schools posted the state’s lowest graduation rates.
It’s the third year Idaho has used a nationally accepted metric to calculate graduation rates, tracking student “cohorts” from ninth grade through 12th grade. When Idaho first used that method in 2015, the state’s graduation rate came in at 78.9 percent.
Idaho’s numbers have lagged behind the national average in recent years. In 2016, Idaho’s graduation rate ranked 40th in the nation when the national average was a record 84.1 percent. The national graduation rate for 2017 is not yet available.
Included in the Idaho data, Salmon River, Kendrick, and Deary are among twenty schools that graduated 100 percent of their eligible seniors. Also, the Lewiston School District recorded a 95.4 percent graduation rate, the highest among larger districts with cohort sizes exceeding 300 students.
The State Board of Education wants Idaho’s graduation rate to improve to 95 percent by 2023.
Last year, the Legislature approved increased funding for college and career advising, and the State Board has requested an additional $5 million this year to expand those efforts to freshmen and sophomore students. (Idaho Department of Education)