APS grad rates improve; statewide rates hold steady - Albuquerque Journal

APS grad rates improve; statewide rates hold steady

Albuquerque Public Schools graduation rate improved for the sixth straight year in 2021. (Albuquerque Journal File)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque Public Schools graduation rate improved for the sixth straight year in 2021, though the increase was about one point and a bit lower than the statewide average.

The 2021 four-year graduation rate for the Albuquerque Public Schools, including charter schools, improved to 75.7%, higher than the 74.6% rate for APS in 2020, according to a report released Thursday.

The 2021 number also represents a 14 percentage point increase over APS’s 2015 graduation rate of 61.7%.

APS has limited academic control over charter schools and “its graduation rate typically is several percentage points higher when they are extracted,” according to the report.

The APS graduation rate jumps to 80.4% when averaged without the charter schools.

Among specific subgroups within APS schools, 2021 graduation rates also climbed. These included female students at 80.3%; Asian students at 90.7%; Black students at 72.7%; Hispanic students at 73.5%; and white students at 83.7%. The district’s Native American students, however, saw a slight drop to 64.6%.

Economically disadvantaged and special education student subgroups also saw improved graduations rates in 2021.

Statewide, there was little change in the averaged 2021 four-year graduation rate among high school seniors when compared with numbers for spring of 2020, according to the state Public Education Department.

The 2021 graduation rate of 76.8% was a statistically insignificant decrease of one-tenth of a percentage point from the 76.9% rate recorded in spring of 2020, and that was a nearly 2 percentage point increase over 2019’s rate of 75%, the report said.

New Mexico’s five-year graduation rate for the 2020 cohort improved 3.4 points to 81.7%.

State Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus said it was reassuring that despite students dealing with the ongoing COVID pandemic, they graduated at about the same rate they did in 2020, and many groups even saw improvements.

“We’re grateful to students, families and educators for the hard work it took to achieve that,” he said in the report. “Over the next year, we will be working on focused strategies with the goal of improving graduation rates and other student achievement metrics in math and English language arts.”

In addition to New Mexico’s 2021 high school graduates, statewide 54 students aged 17-18 who were enrolled in adult education programs earned their GED or HiSET credential, and 523 New Mexicans aged 19 and over received their certification, according to the PED.

Of 13 high schools in the Albuquerque Public Schools, 10 saw improved graduation rates in 2021, as did four of its six magnet schools.

The APS high schools that saw the largest increase in graduation rates were Del Norte, which jumped 12 percentage points to 68.7%; Valley rose by 8.6 percentage points to 80.7%; Albuquerque surged 7.9 percentage points to 82.2%; Highland climbed 3.8 percentage points to 66.3%; and Cibola ticked up 3.7 percentage points to 86%.

Among the district’s six magnet high schools, four saw higher graduation rates, including: School on Wheels, which increased 7.4 percentage points to 65.2%; the Nex+Gen Academy, rose by 5.3 percentage points to 97.7%; the College and Career school improved by 4.5 percentage points to 97.6%; and Freedom High improved by 0.7 percentage points to 31.6%

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