District Graduation Rates Increase Again

Posted on November 9, 2017
Categories: News from SDP

Hard Work Keeps Paying Off – Progress and Momentum of the School District of Philadelphia Continues

Philadelphia – At a pep rally at Lincoln High School, the School District of Philadelphia celebrated an increase in their graduation rate for the third consecutive year.  This comes on the heels of the District’s increases in PSSA/Keystones announced last month.  This continued positive trend is the result of the District’s strategic focus on college and career readiness and the hard work of students, families, teachers and principals.

Among District students who entered the 9th grade in 2013-14 78% of them graduated in four years – an increase of 4% points over last year and 31 high schools across the District saw improvements in their graduation rate.  Lincoln High School, the host of the event, saw one of the largest gains — a 12% point-increase in their High School graduation rate over last year.  The overall District graduation rate, which includes alternative schools, increased for the third consecutive year by 1% point to 67%.

“Increased graduation rates means means more Philadelphia high school students are on the path to successfully completing high school with the skills needed to enter college or the workforce,” said Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite.  “While we continue to increase in our graduation rate we must also continue to make a School District of Philadelphia diploma as valuable as possible.  That is why we are investing in 9th grade academies, improving advance placement opportunities and increasing access for all students to higher performing school options.”

Progress and Momentum of the School District of Philadelphia Continues

  •  78% of students who entered 9th grade in 2013-14 graduated in four years — an increase of 4% pts over last year
  • 31 high schools saw improvement in their graduation rate over last year
  • The overall District graduation rate (which includes alternative schools) increased 1%-pt to 67%
  • High school students are also graduating with better academic outcomes
    • Students in all grades who took the Keystone Algebra I, Biology, and Literature tests this year did much better than students who took the tests the year before
    • Algebra I proficient/advanced rates increased 2 %-pts, from 19% to 21%
    • Biology proficient/advanced rates increased 6 %-pts, from 23% to 29%
    • Literature proficient/advanced rates increased 5 %-pts, from 38% to 43%
  • More students are performing at the highest level (Advanced) in Biology and Literature
    • Biology advanced rates increased 2 %-pts, from 7% to 9%
    • Literature advanced rates increased 2 %-pts, from 2% to 4%
  • Fewer students are performing at the lowest level (Below Basic) in Algebra and Biology
    • Algebra below basic rates decreased 2 %-pts, from 38% to 36%
    • Biology below basic rates decreased 8 %-pts, from 48% to 40%

“Through parental support, staff dedication and student determination of credit accountability, I am proud that Lincoln High School has significantly increased its graduation rate,” said Lincoln High School Principal Jack Nelson. “These are just some of the many steps we are taking to make our school community a welcoming environment so that students are not only college and career ready, but life ready as well.”

“This accomplishment is even more significant when you look back at all the cuts our graduating students have had to endure during their academic careers. Over the last several years, the District has had to make hundreds of millions in cuts,” said Mayor Kenney. “And while they preserved through those cuts, we cannot expect Dr. Hite, our teachers or our students to take the incremental progress we’ve seen over the three years and expand it into greater success while enduring another cycle of cuts. That’s why I have committed to meeting the District’s impending deficit, and that’s also why I have committed to returning the District to local control. I know that with the full support of the City’s departments behind the School District, we can increase that graduation rate even more and get our graduating seniors off to college or career.”

We will continue implementing focused efforts around Anchor Goal 1: 100% of Students will graduate ready for college or a career

  •  9th grade academies focused on career and college readiness have been created to ensure students are attending school, engaged in their courses, and ready to move onto the 10th grade
  • PSAT-SAT for every high school student with 38,365 District high school students are taking the SAT, Practice SAT (PSAT)/National Merit Qualifying Test, and PSAT 8/9 for free
  • Outward Bound experience for all incoming 9th grade students that focuses on character, leadership, and service and gives students critical thinking skills to help them become successful in and out of high school
  • Increased advanced placement opportunities for students
  • Opening two new high schools: Vaux Big Picture High School and Parkway Center City Middle College
  • Increasing access for all students to higher performing school options and removing barriers so more students have the option to attend CTE high schools
  • Post graduation plans for all high school graduates to better prepare them to succeed in college or finding employment
  • Partnership with the City’s Commerce Department to engage the business community and offer quality work based experiences and skills necessary to compete in the knowledge economy
  • Expanding alternative school options to give more students a second chance and get them on the path to obtain a high school diploma
  • Focusing on improving attendance to ensure students stay on track to graduate