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News Release - Gains on Graduation Rate

Jan. 24, 2013

News Release

Colorado continues to make steady gains on the graduation rate

State continues to see reductions in the dropout rate

Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education shows the statewide on-time graduation rate for the class of 2012 increased 1.5 percentage points to 75.4 percent as compared to last year. The on-time graduation rate stood at 73.9 percent for the class of 2011.

Individual district, school and statewide data are available at

A total of 120 (65.6 percent) Colorado school districts achieved a four-year on-time graduation rate at or above the state’s expectation of at least 80 percent.

Closing the Gap

Graduation rate increases were seen across nearly all racial and ethnic groups. The rate for minority students increased at or faster than the rate for their white peers. Among racial and ethnic groups, the on-time graduation rate for the 2011-2012 school year was 57.7 percent for American Indian; 82.9 percent for Asian students; 66.2 percent for black students; 62.5 percent for Hispanic students; 82.1 percent for white students; 70.1 percent for Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 80.4 percent for students reported as two or more races.


Statewide, the on-time graduation for females was 79.5 percent and the male graduation rate was 71.4 percent.

Completion Rate

Combining all graduates with those completers who receive a certificate, a designation of high school completion or a GED certificate determines the completion rate. The 2011-2012 completion rate was 78.2 percent, while the 2010-2011 completion rate was 76.8 percent.

Giving Students More Time

Colorado has been persistent in keeping non-graduates enrolled beyond their fourth year of high school and moving them to graduate in five or six years. For example, looking at the Class of 2010, Colorado’s five-year graduation rate for this class increased to 77.1 percent over the four-year rate of 72.4 percent, an increase of 4.7 percentage points. The six-year graduation rate is 78.5 percent, an increase of 6.1 percentage points over the four-year rate.

Dropout Rate

The state again saw a decrease in the dropout rate. This is the state’s sixth consecutive year for reducing its dropout rate. This year’s rate was reduced by 0.1 percentage points from last year. The 2011-2012 dropout rate is 2.9 percent. Colorado’s public schools generated 488 fewer dropouts in 2011-12 than in the 2010-11 school year. Compared to the 2005-06 school year, when the dropout rate was 4.5 percent, the state generated 5,775 fewer dropouts in 2011-12. For more information, visit

The dropout rate reflects the percentage of all students enrolled in grades seven through 12 who leave school without transferring to another educational environment during a single school year. It is calculated by dividing the number of dropouts by a membership base, which includes all seventh- through 12th-grade students who were in membership any time during the year.

Tools to Understand the Numbers

This year the department created a number of interactive tools and maps to better explain how the graduation and dropout rates look across the state. You can find them on the Graduation Statistics and Dropout Statistics web pages.

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