Iowa’s high school graduation rate lowest in 9 years

(ABC 6 News) – The Iowa Department of Education released new data on the state’s graduation rates which show rates have dipped below 90% for the first time since 2013.

State data shows 89.9% of students in Iowa’s Class of 2022 graduated within four years which is a slight decrease from 90.2% for the Class of 2021. The Class of 2020 had a graduation rate of 93.5%.

Despite this small drop, Iowa’s graduation rate is still higher than its neighboring states of Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota, with 2022 graduation rates for Minnesota and Wisconsin not yet available.

The pandemic could partially be the reason for the slight dip in graduation rates.

“Students in the graduating class of 2022 were in 10th grade when the pandemic forced us to close schools in the spring of 2020,” said Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “Students transitioned between learning models while facing a multitude of challenges during their junior year. But I have learned that students are resilient. As we move forward, we must continue to work with our school partners to ensure all students have the support and resources needed to succeed.”

Iowa’s four-year graduation rate for the graduating class of 2022 is still 0.6 percentage points above where it was 10 years ago. 

Meanwhile, Iowa’s annual dropout rate was 3.04% for the 2021-22 school year. The state’s 2021-22 dropout rate represents 4,698 students in grades 9 through 12. The dropout rate reflects the percent of students in grades 9-12 who dropped out of school during a single year.