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6-year graduation rate grows to 63%

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

The District’s on-time graduation rate edged up to 58 percent last year. This is the percentage of students who entered 9th grade in fall 2006 and finished high school in 2010.

For the class that started high school in 2004, the six-year graduation rate reached 63 percent, the highest rate that has been seen in recent years.

The District monitors both on-time and six-year graduation rates. Many students do not complete high school in four years but persist and graduate within a year or two of their peers. All these rates are called cohort graduation rates, based on tracking the outcomes over time of all the individuals who started 9th grade at the same time. The rates are adjusted for students who transferred out of the District.

Mayor Michael Nutter has set a goal of a six-year graduation rate of 80 percent by 2014.

Facts and figures

A look at some of the numbers underlying the District’s graduation and dropout rates.

Graduation rates are lower for students in special education.
Graduation rate (4-year)

Class of 2007: 41%
Class of 2008: 41%
Class of 2009: 43%
Class of 2010: 45%

English language learners do about the same as other students.
Graduation rate (4-year)

Class of 2007: 53%
Class of 2008: 53%
Class of 2009: 54%
Class of 2010: 59%

Truancy, often a prelude to students dropping out, is still rampant.
Number of chronically truant District students (students with 10+ unexcused absences) enrolled at any time this year: 20,406

Number of chronically truant students currently enrolled: 9,645

High schools with current truancy rates of more than 25 percent:

Frankford 31%
Sayre 31%
Kensington Culinary 30%
Gratz 30%
Kensington Business 27%
Strawberry Mansion 27%
Olney West 26%

The exodus of dropouts continues.
Number of dropouts the District reports between the start of school and Jan. 31, 2011: 3,030

All data from School District of Philadelphia, compiled by Paul Socolar

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