Delaware’s progress on graduation, dropout rates stalls

    (Avi Wolfman-Arent/WHYY)

    (Avi Wolfman-Arent/WHYY)

    After big improvements last year, Delaware’s graduation rate and dropout rate have plateaued.

    That’s according to data reported Monday by the Delaware Department of Education.

    The First State’s four-year, cohort graduation rate for the 2014-15 school year was 84.3 percent, down 0.1 percent from the year prior. Delaware’s 2014-15 dropout rate was 2.2 percent, up 0.1 percent from 2013-14.

    One year ago, Delaware celebrated a spike in its graduation rate, along with a corresponding dip in its dropout rate.

    The most recent data suggests the state’s improvement efforts have stalled. But the figures also indicate that last year’s gains weren’t a one-time blip, and may indeed represent lasting improvement.

    Of note, Delaware recently rolled out new, digitized systems for reporting graduation and dropout rates. Those systems allowed districts to better track students, which resulted in less students being erroneously categorized as dropouts. The implementation of those new applications likely contributed to gains in graduation and dropouts rates. Now that those systems have been in place for a few years, the state’s gains appear to have slowed.


    2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
    Graduation Rate 79.6% 79.9% 84.4% 84.3%
    Dropout Rate 3.9% 2.9% 2.1% 2.2%

    The latest graduation figures also delivered a mixed message when it came to demographic breakdowns.

    The graduation rates for African American and Asian American students ticked up slightly, while Hispanic and White students performed a tad worse than they did in 2013-14.

    English language learners, special education students, and low-income students also saw their respective graduation rates fall.

    The Delaware Department of Education will formally present this data to the State Board of Education on Thursday. It does not include graduation and dropout rates broken down by district.

    You can read the department’s full report here.


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