Oregon graduation rate nears 80 percent after 2nd year of solid gains

Oregon graduation rate nears 80 percent after 2nd year of solid gains

Oregon’s high school graduation rate improved by 2 percentage points for a second straight year, marking the most sustained improvement in a decade, the state reported Thursday.

Statewide, 79 percent of students in the class of 2018 earned diplomas within four years, the Oregon Department of Education said.

The gains were broadly shared, with Latinos, Native Americans, whites, low-income students, girls and boys all matching or exceeding the statewide rate of improvement.

The most glaring exception was among black students, whose on-time graduation rate remained mired at 68 percent after showing steady gains the previous four years.

State schools chief Colt Gill said the encouraging broad-based gains are a sign that strategies such as returning career-technical courses to the state’s high schools are paying off. Among students who took one or more such classes, 88 percent earned diplomas, he noted.

And he said the latest graduation rates are also a reminder that his agency and local educators need to keep fighting chronic absenteeism and pay more attention to minority, low-income and special education students.

Low-income students were 6 percentage points less likely to earn a diploma in four years than better-off students. And historically underserved minority students graduated at rates 7 percent lower than white students.