PROVO, Utah – For eight years running, the rate of Utah students graduating from public and charter high schools has risen, according to new data released from the Utah State Board of Education.
Last spring, 43,389 students graduated from Utah’s public schools, which represents 88.2% who entered as freshmen four years earlier — up 0.8% from 2019.
Graduation rates rose in seven of nine student demographic groups, although there was a “worrisome 6.4% decline” among graduation rates of students who identify as American Indian, according to a press release. There was also a 1.7% decline among students who identify as Asian.
Meanwhile, graduation rates of students who identify as African American or Black increased by 4.4%, and students who are economically disadvantaged saw a 1.1% increase.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson said Utah students “showed remarkable resiliency by overcoming the obstacles that the pandemic put in their path last spring to complete their education on time.”
Last spring, Utah schools shuttered to in-person learning and all students had to shift to online learning, which presented an additional layer of complication for students attempting to complete their high school graduation requirements.
“While graduation ceremonies looked different last spring, efforts to support students to demonstrate readiness to graduate through remote learning paid off. We commend students, parents, educators and all those involved in the ecosystem of education in helping our students have choices for their future through taking this first step of high school graduation,” Dickson said in a statement.
The Caucasian student group had the highest graduation rate for 2020 with 90.7% meeting graduation requirements. The African American and Black student group had the largest gain in graduation rate from 2019 to 2020 by going from 74.8% of students graduating to 79.2%.
Once again, female students in Utah had a higher graduation rate in 2020 than their male counterparts at 90.6% compared to 85.9%, although both groups’ graduation rates slightly improved over the previous year.