The Mississippi Department of Education on Thursday released statistics for the 2021-22 school year, which reflect the highest statewide graduation rate of 88.9% and a statewide dropout rate of 9%, according to an MDE press release.
“Rates are based on students who entered ninth grade for the first time during the 2018-19 school year,” the press release states. “Among students with disabilities, the graduation rate increased to 67.1%, and the dropout rate was 19.3%.”
Robert Taylor, Ph.D., state superintendent of education, said he is proud of Mississippi’s students and educators for reaching the historic graduation rate milestone.
“The MDE will continue to provide essential services and support for all students to stay in school and graduate to achieve academic and career success,” Taylor said in the press release.
Currently, Mississippi’s graduation rate exceeds the latest U.S. rate of 86.5% from 2019-20, which was reported by the National Center for Education Statistics.
MDE officials said the statewide graduation rate was 74.5% in 2014 and has increased annually. The statewide dropout has decreased from 13.9% in 2014.
Schools officials said several statewide programs helped students improve the graduation rate, including that MDE is allowing students to earn endorsements with their diploma starting in the ninth grade or take classes to earn an academic, distinguished academic or career and technical education endorsement, according to MDE officials. Students can earn more than one endorsement.
The diploma options will prepare eligible students after graduation for the workforce, or a career in a technical training program, the military or college.
“MDE developed the Mississippi Early Warning System program in 2016, which offers guidance to school districts and schools to identify, support and monitor at-risk students in grades K-12,” the release states.
Intervention is provided for students who need assistance to reach graduation and be ready for college and career.
“Students who earn an academic or distinguished academic diploma endorsement from a public high school automatically qualify for admission into any of the state’s public universities,” the press release states. “The endorsement opportunity was phased in during the 2018-19 school year and was fully implemented at the end of 2021-22.”
Students who obtain an academic diploma endorsement from a public high school automatically qualify for admission into any of the state’s public universities, which was phased in during the 2018-19 school year and was fully implemented at the end of 2021-22.
“COVID-19 made a significant impact on graduation rates, in which the passing requirements for high school Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History assessments were waived in 2020-21,” the press release states, adding that will affect the graduation rate until all students who tested under the waivers graduate.
“The current dropout rate figures reflect a .5% increase from 2020-21 and a .9% increase among students with disabilities,” MDE said in the press release. “The graduation rate does not include students who earn a GED or a certificate of completion or who are still enrolled in their fifth year of high school. There were fewer students in those categories in 2021-22 than the previous year, which attributed to the increased dropout rate.”
For more information view the 2022 Graduation Rate Report at mdek12.org/OPR/Reporting/Accountability/2023.