The latest federal data show that Maine’s high school graduation rate remains above the national average.

According to statistics released Monday, Maine is among 36 states that saw increases in overall graduation rates, while six states saw decreases and another eight saw no change since 2012-13.

Overall, Maine ranked 16th highest in the nation, with an 86.5 percent graduation rate in 2013-14. That’s up slightly from Maine’s 86.4 percent graduation rate in 2012-13.

State education officials had previously released the 2013-14 graduation rate, but the federal report is the first to compare the data nationwide.

The national graduation rate in 2012-13, released in May, was 81 percent.

Maine’s graduation rate has increased 8 percent since 2008-09, when the statewide graduation rate was 80.2 percent.


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan noted Monday that the nationwide data show that high schools are also increasing the graduation rate for traditionally underserved students, including low-income students, minority students, students with disabilities and English learners.

“The hard work of America’s educators, families, communities and students is paying off, particularly after several years of intense work by educators transitioning to new, higher standards. This is a vital step toward readiness for success in college and careers for every student in this country,” Duncan said in a statement. “While these gains are promising, we know that we have a long way to go in improving educational opportunities for every student – no matter their ZIP code – for the sake of our young people and our nation’s economic strength.”

Maine has been undergoing two major educational policy changes in recent years that influence graduation rates.

The state adopted Common Core learning standards for English and math. It has required all schools in the state to review their curricula and make sure they are teaching students in a way to meet those new, more rigorous standards. Because the material is new and aimed at being more difficult, some experts have predicted that test scores may go down.

The state is also shifting to proficiency-based diplomas, which means Maine students in the class of 2018 and beyond will have to show in-depth understanding of everything from U.S. history to algebraic equations in order to graduate. The students must show proficiency in the eight areas outlined in the Maine Learning Results: English, math, science and technology, social studies, health and physical education, visual and performing arts, world languages, and career and education development.


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