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Mississippi Graduation Rates Reach Historic Heights, Drop-out Rate Dips Again

June 16, 2016

CLINTON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released today the graduation rates for the 2015-2016 school year, showing students earning standard diplomas in the state are at an all-time high.

Districts showed a four-year graduation rate of 80.8 percent, up from 78.4 for the 2014-2015 school year. The nation's high school graduation rate hit 82 percent in 2013-14. At this rate of growth, Mississippi could surpass the national rate by next year, according to Dr. J.P. Beaudoin, director of research and development at MDE.

The graduation rate for students with disabilities also increased significantly, to 33.6 percent from 27.5 percent the previous school year. Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, said parents, teachers and administrators should be proud of the state’s gains.

“The credit is due to the hard work of our teachers and principals who continue to set high expectations for children, and our children continue to meet and exceed those expectations,” she said. “I’m particularly pleased to see the progress of our students with disabilities. We are not where we should be as a state, but we are increasing the opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in general education classes. Through the state’s graduation options, we also opened multiple pathways for students to earn a diploma.”

The drop-out rate dipped for the second consecutive year to 11.8 percent from 12.8 percent as school districts work to encourage students to stay in school.

Dr. John Kelly, chairman of the Mississippi State Board of Education, said the Board’s five-year strategic plan includes a focus on graduation and college and career preparedness.

“The MDE has strategically focused its efforts on professional development around higher standards of learning and literacy to build the capacity of our teachers. This supports the Board’s strategic plan goal of all students graduating high school ready for college and career,” he said.

Additional information about district-level performances can be found in the 2016 Graduation Rates at .

Media Contact: 
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications

Jean Cook, APR
Communications Specialist