SOMSD graduation rates fall behind state averages, report says

MAPLEWOOD / SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — According to recent information from the New Jersey Department of Education, while New Jersey’s overall graduation rates went up slightly, South Orange-Maplewood’s went down slightly.

As reported by the DOE, Columbia High School’s adjusted cohort graduation rate has decreased in the last three years and hit a four-year low in 2016 at 88.84 percent. In comparison, the rate in 2015 was 90.78 percent; in 2014 it was 92.95 percent, and in 2013 it was 89.58 percent.

Compared with other Essex County school districts, South Orange-Maplewood School District ranked in the lower half.

The district adjusted cohort graduation rates for 2016, in descending order, are: West Essex Regional at 97.79 percent, Verona at 97.39 percent, Millburn at 97.2 percent, Essex County Vo-Tech at 97.18 percent, Glen Ridge at 96.92 percent, Cedar Grove at 96.58 percent, Caldwell-West Caldwell at 96.02 percent, Livingston at 95.57 percent, Nutley at 94.57 percent, Montclair at 92.11 percent, Orange at 90.68 percent, Bloomfield at 89.8 percent, South Orange-Maplewood at 88.84 percent; Belleville at 85.16 percent, West Orange at 84.88 percent, East Orange at 74.77 percent, Newark at 73.47 percent and Irvington at 70.72 percent.

Nevertheless, the Christie administration announced earlier this month that New Jersey’s overall high school graduation rate increased to 90.1 percent in 2016 from 89.7 percent in 2015. This marks the fifth straight year that the statewide high school graduation rate has increased.

“We commend the efforts of our students and educators in achieving this tremendous accomplishment and remain committed to keeping New Jersey as a national leader in education by continuing to implement graduation standards that more honestly demonstrate a graduate’s preparedness for college, career and community experiences beyond high school,” acting Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington said in a press release.

The Class of 2011 was the first graduating class to begin using the federally mandated methodology for calculating the graduation rate; since then the state’s high school graduation rate has increased by 7.1 percentage points from 83 percent in 2011.

According to the DOE, the state saw increases in graduation rates for each monitored demographic in the schools. Black students graduated at a rate of 82.1 percent in 2016, an increase of 13.1 percentage points from 2011, when it was 69 percent. Hispanic students graduated at a rate of 83.4 percent in 2016, a 10.4 percentage point increase from 2011, when it was 73 percent. White students graduated at a rate of 94.2 percent in 2016, an increase from 90 percent in 2011. Asian students graduated at a rate of 96.7 percent in 2016, an increase from 93 percent in 2011. Economically disadvantaged students graduated at a rate of 82.7 percent in 2016, an increase of 11.7 percentage points from 2011, when it was 71 percent. Limited English Proficient students graduated at a rate of 74.7 percent of in 2016, an increase of 6.7 percentage points from 68 percent in 2011. And students with disabilities graduated at a rate of 78.8 percent in 2016, an increase from 73 percent in 2011.

COMMENTS