Department of Education data shows slight increase in Minnesota graduation rates

(ABC 6 News) – Four-year graduation rates for Minnesota high school seniors are rising again and has returned to near pre-pandemic levels, according to a report from the Minnesota Department of Education.

The graduation rate for the class of 2022 was 83.6% (58,586 students), which is slightly better than the 83.3% of students from 2021 going on to career or college success. Additionally, 3,840 students from earlier classes also earned their diplomas in 2022, graduating five, six or seven years after beginning high school.

“Our students, educators and school communities persevered through the challenges of the past few years, and their unwavering commitment to excellence resulted in improved graduation rates. We celebrate this significant milestone and also recognize that there is still much to be done,” said MDE Commissioner Willie Jett. “Working together, we will ensure that every student graduates from high school equipped with the tools and knowledge necessary for a successful future.”

Minnesota’s overall four-year graduation rate has returned to near the pre-pandemic level of 83.7% in 2019, after falling in 2021 from the historic high of 83.8% in 2020.

The 2021-22 school year was the second full school year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Students graduating in 2022 were in 10th grade when the pandemic started and their 11th grade year was their most heavily impacted year as schools switched to new ways of learning.

Data shows the 2022 graduation rate for Rochester Public School seniors at 85.9% (1,225 students), a 2.1% increase from the 83.8% (1,205 students) rate in 2021. The 2022 rate has returned to the pre-pandemic level of 2019, when it was also at 85.9% (1,161 students).

Meanwhile, Austin Public Schools saw a steep decline with a 2022 graduation rate of 71.9% (271 students) down 7.0% from the 78.9% (288 students) rate in 2021 and 80.8% (299 students) in 2020.

The Albert Lea Public School District saw a 6.3% increase from 2021 (71.8%, 186 students), with a 2022 graduate rate of 78.1% (228 students).

The four-year graduation rate for American Indian students saw an increase of 2.5% from 58.6% in 2021 to 61.1% in 2022; 3.1% for Black students to 73.5%; and 2.9% for students identifying as two or more races to 79.2%.

Four-year graduation rate trends of various student demographic groups are listed below:

Student Demographic Group2022 Graduation Rate2021 Graduation Rate
All Students83.6%83.3%
American Indian (state definition)61.1%58.6%
Hispanic or Latino69.3%69.5%
Two or more races79.2%76.3%
Students receiving special education services65.6%64.0%
English learners65.0%64.7%
Students eligible for free or reduced-price meals71.1%70.3%
Minnesota Department of Education

The graduation report uses the Minnesota definition for all racial student groups. The state definition allows students to be reported as American Indian even if they also belong to other racial and ethnic groups. Under the federal definition of American Indian or Alaska Native, these students would fall under “Hispanic/Latino” or “two or more races” and would not be counted as American Indian or Alaska Native in reporting.

For more information on the graduation data, CLICK HERE.