DES MOINES – Iowa’s high school graduation rate climbed to a record high of 91.6 percent in 2019, continuing a trend of long-term growth across nearly all groups of students, including those from diverse backgrounds, according to new data from the Iowa Department of Education. 

“More Iowans are graduating high school better equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century economy,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Whether it’s through computer science, STEM or work-based learning, we are changing the way our students learn and removing barriers that exist for underserved communities. Today’s announcement is an important milestone, but our work continues to guarantee student success well beyond high school.”  

Data show 91.6 percent of students in Iowa’s Class of 2019 graduated within four years, up from 91.4 percent in the Class of 2018. Since 2011, Iowa’s four-year graduation rate has increased 3.3 percentage points overall, with significant gains in nearly every student demographic subgroup. For example, graduation rates for Hispanic students have climbed by 9.3 percentage points, students whose first language is not English have increased by 8.8 percentage points, and African American students have gone up 8.4 percentage points since 2011.

"Iowans should be proud of our consistent, upward trend in graduation rates," Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said. “Schools are also ensuring students are prepared to succeed beyond graduation by making classwork relevant and engaging through career academies, college credit and work-based learning opportunities that help students connect what they are learning to postsecondary opportunities.”

Iowa graduation rates are calculated with a formula established by the U.S. Department of Education. Unique student identification numbers allow school districts to account for all ninth-grade students as they move through high school. At the state level, the method helps determine when a student graduates, even if the student has switched districts in Iowa during high school.

Iowa’s five-year graduation rate – which reflects students who were part of a graduating class but took an extra year to finish high school – was 93.5 percent for the Class of 2018, up from 93.3 percent for the Class of 2017.

Iowa’s annual dropout rate reflects the percentage of students in grades 9-12 who drop out of school during a single year. The annual dropout rate dipped to 2.61 percent for the 2018-19 school year from 2.67 percent for the previous school year.

For more information, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s website.