Florida’s graduation rate in 2013 was 76 percent, putting it 5 percentage points below the national average and No. 43 among 49 states with data to report, according to the most recent federal stats spotlighted via the annual Diplomas Count report from Education Week, released today.
Iowa came in at No. 1, with 90 percent. Oregon was last at 69 percent. Data wasn’t available for Idaho.
At the same time, Florida’s graduation rate rose 5 percentage points between 2011 and 2013. That’s more than twice the national rate and tied for 5th among states in gains. (Nevada led in progress, with a 9-point jump.)
Until last year, Education Week used its own methodology to determine state-by-state graduation rates, rather than rely solely on federal data. In 2013, it reported Florida’s rate ranked No. 2 in improvement between 2000 and 2010, rising 23 percentage points over that span. (That report also ranked Florida No. 34 among states in 2010.)
Graduation rates are dicey to compare state to state because of differences in demographics, graduation requirements and diploma types. Florida is among the poorest of states (it ranks No. 44 in the percentage of students eligible for free- and reduced-price lunch) but has set a higher bar than most for earning a standard diploma (see here and here).
The latest Diplomas Count puts special emphasis on students with disabilities.