Report: Maine’s high school graduation rate ranks among top 15

Posted April 28, 2014, at 6:08 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s high school graduation rate is among the top 15 in the nation, according to a report released jointly by four education advocacy groups on Monday.

The report says that graduation rates have been climbing steadily in the United States since 2006. At 85 percent, Maine’s graduation rate is above the national average, which is 80 percent.

The report analyzes data from the years 2006 to 2012. Earlier this month, the Maine Department of Education announced that the graduation rate in Maine had climbed again in 2013 to 86.4 percent.

Just as he did when the more recent data was released, Maine’s education commissioner Jim Rier said Monday that he was pleased with Maine’s results, but stressed that the emphasis should be getting students to graduate college and career ready.

“The fact that Maine’s rate is high in relation to the rest of the country is good,” Rier said.

But he added that the DOE is focusing on ensuring that students graduate with postsecondary and career capabilities.

“That is, to me, a far more challenging assignment to us in the next few years,” he said.

Rier said that about 37 percent of Maine students who graduate are not meeting the state’s proficiency standards.

In the fall semester of the current academic year, 11.4 percent of students from Maine high schools who enrolled as freshmen at one of the University of Maine System’s campuses and 52 percent who enrolled in one of Maine’s community colleges were required to take a remedial math or English course, according to reports released by UMS and the Maine Community College System in January.

Earlier this month, Rier said the state’s move to a new system of awarding diplomas will help ensure that all students graduate prepared for life after high school.

“As Maine moves toward awarding diplomas based on proficiency rather than time served, students can be more confident the diplomas they’ve earned signify they are adequately prepared for success at the next step,” he said.

Under the proficiency-based diploma system, students will have to demonstrate they have mastered the state’s education standards in order to receive a diploma. There will be less emphasis placed on how many classes students have taken during their high school careers.

Students who are in eighth grade now and are entering high school in the fall will be the first cohort to graduate under this new system.

The national graduation rate report that was released Monday was created by the groups Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center, America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education.

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