The Garden State’s high school graduation rate increased from 83% in 2011 to 86% in 2012, the second year the state is using new federal methodology for calculating the graduation rate. Meanwhile, School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools undergoing intensive turnarounds with the support of the New Jersey Department of Education on the whole made significant gains over the past two years.

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Education Commissioner Chris Cerf says, “The results for schools undergoing intensive turnarounds this year are particularly very encouraging, showing that while our achievement gaps across the state are persistent and unacceptably high, we can close them with dedicated support and interventions.”

A wide range of student subgroups saw marked improvement. 86% of students across the state graduated in 2012, an increase from 83% in 2011. 75% of African American students graduated in 2012, an increase from 69% in 2011. 77% of Hispanic students graduated in 2012, an increase from 73% in 2011. 93% of white students graduated in 2012, an increase from 90% in 2011. 95% of Asian students graduated in 2012, an increase from 93% in 2011. 75% of economically disadvantaged students graduated in 2012, an increase from 71% in 2011. 73% of Limited English Proficient (LEPs) students graduated in 2012, an increase from 68% in 2011 and 74% of students with disabilities graduated in 2012, an increase from 73% in 2011.

“While we are excited to see the graduation rate increase this year, the overall number of graduates did not change, which indicates that the change is largely due to better reporting and tracking of students by districts,” says Chief Performance Officer Bari Erlichson. “In essence, this means that 86% is much closer to our true graduation rate than the 83% reported last year.”