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Report: Mississippi sees record-high graduation rates as dropout numbers fall

Mississippi graduation rate
Photo courtesy of the South Panola School District

Mississippi has achieved record-high graduation rates at the high school level with dropouts on the decline in the state, a report shows.

According to the Mississippi Department of Education, the state experienced an 89.4 percent graduation rate for the 2022-2023 school year — an all-time record — while dropout numbers decreased to 8.5 percent, surpassing the feat that was accomplished in the 2021-2022 school year.

Rates are based on students who entered ninth grade for the first time during the 2019-2020 school year. In addition, among students with disabilities, the graduation rate increased to 70 percent with the dropout rate falling to 17.7 percent.

Mississippi’s graduation rate also exceeds the latest U.S. rate of 86.5 percent from 2019-2020 reported by the National Center for Education Statistics.

“The hard work of students, parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators across Mississippi continues to produce outstanding outcomes,” Dr. Raymond Morgigno, interim state superintendent of education, said. “The MDE is proud of our students’ continued achievements and remains committed to ensuring all students graduate ready for college and career success.”

MDE’s latest figures mark an upward trend for Mississippi’s public school students. The statewide graduation rate was 74.5 percent in 2013 and has increased annually.

Pandemic disruptions affected the graduation rate in recent years. Due to COVID-19, passing requirements were waived for high school end-of-year assessments in Algebra I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History in 2020-2021. The waivers have had a positive impact on the graduation rate, but that impact is expected to diminish for the 2023-24 school year.

The statewide dropout has decreased from 13.9 percent in 2013. The current dropout rate figures reflect a 0.5 percent decrease from 2021-2022 and a 1.6 percent decrease among students with disabilities.

The education gains we’re seeing in Mississippi are unprecedented. From this all-time high graduation rate to the Mississippi Miracle, our state is preparing our students to be both well-rounded and ready to take on rewarding careers,” Governor Tate Reeves said.

“With new jobs and investments pouring in, it’s clear that the strength of tomorrow’s workforce starts in today’s classroom. Thank you to all of Mississippi’s parents, teachers, and students for breaking yet another education record. Our entire state is proud of you!”

The full 2023 graduation rate report can be found here.

Dr. Lance Evans named Mississippi Superintendent of Education

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