A Decade of Growth: Class of 2019 Marks New High for Grad Rate at DMPS
Data released today by the Iowa Department of Education shows the Class of 2019 at Des Moines Public Schools marked a new high for the school district, with the largest percentage of graduates since the state began using its current graduation rate formula eleven years ago. The graduation rate at DMPS has increased more than ten percentage points during that time.
The Class of 2019 at Des Moines Public Schools had a district-wide graduation rate of 82.73%, an increase of nearly two percent over the previous year. The four-year graduation rate for the Class of 2019 at the district’s five comprehensive high schools – East, Hoover, Lincoln, North and Roosevelt – ranged from 83.85% to 89.09%.
Statewide, the four-year graduation rate in Iowa was 91.6% for the Class of 2019, an increase of two-tenths of a percent over the previous year.
The five-year graduation rate was also released today. The district-wide five-year graduation rate for that Class of 2018 at Des Moines Public Schools was 85.05%, down slightly from 85.8% for the Class of 2017.
Statewide five-year graduation rate figures show a rate of 93.5% for the Class of 2018 in Iowa, also a two-tenths of a percent increase over the previous year.
Since 2009 graduation rates in Iowa have been calculated using a formula established by the U.S. Department of Education. Unique student identification numbers are assigned to ninth-grade students, allowing school districts to account for all students as they move through high school. At the state level, the method helps determine when a student graduates, even if the student has moved to a different district in Iowa during high school. The graduation rate for Des Moines Public Schools has increased more than 10 percentage points since the State of Iowa first started using this formula.
“While state and national leaders continue to underfund and undercut public education, our students and teachers understand the value of education and are working hard to succeed,” said Dr. Thomas Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. “As Iowa’s largest and most diverse school district, we have placed an emphasis on educational equity so that no student has a barrier between themselves and a high school diploma.”
The Iowa Department of Education also released annual dropout rates today. The Des Moines Public Schools grade 7-12 dropout rate for 2018-19 was 3.84%, down from 4.3% the previous year and the lowest dropout rate recorded for DMPS in the past decade. These rates reflect the percentage of students who drop out of school during a single year.
DMPS has taken a number of steps in recent years to keep students engaged as well as reengage students who may have left school. Examples range from expanding alternative education options, such as Flex Academy and Virtual Campus, to increasing access to Advanced Placement courses throughout the district’s comprehensive high schools.
For more information on Iowa’s graduation and dropout rates, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s web site.