What type of schools do most Arizona high school students graduate from? Which schools have higher graduation rates?
The Arizona Department of Education’s most recent four-year graduation data shows that most students graduate from traditional, brick and mortar schools and that district schools have higher graduation rates no matter what type of school students attend.
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The data on the Class of 2015 is the most recent data available, because the department also calculates a five-year graduation rate and the data is usually released a year after that calculation is made.
The Arizona Department of Education calculated this graduation rate by comparing the number of students who started their freshman year of high school together with how many of those students have graduated four years later, said Dr. Anabel Aportela, director of research for Arizona Association of School Business Officials and Arizona School Boards Association.
“This analysis is focused on the four-year graduation rate, which is typically the on-time graduation and the goal that we want for students,” Aportela said.
Nine out of 10 graduates earn a diploma from a district school
Of the 79,955 students who started ninth-grade together in 2011, 63,082 graduated from high school in four years, or a graduation rate of 78.89 percent statewide, according to data from the Arizona Department of Education.
Of the students who graduated, 56,796, or 90.04 percent, went to district schools, while 6,286, or 9.96 percent, went to charter schools.
This contrasts with overall K-12 enrollment, in which 85 percent of students attend district schools and 15 percent attend charters.
Most students attend traditional high schools
Most graduates attended traditional, brick-and-mortar schools with 55,460 attending district schools and 3,250 attending charter schools. The graduation rate for students attending traditional district schools was 87.92 percent, and for charter schools it was 79.48 percent.
Alternative schools had the second largest number of graduates with 2,378 students attending alternative charter schools and 778 students attending district alternative schools.
“These (alternative schools) are for students who are struggling in a traditional high school,” Aportela said. “They tend to be smaller, they tend to focus on students who have certain needs.”
The graduation rate for district alternative schools was 35.25 percent and for charter alternative schools it was 33.39 percent.
“There are actually more charter high school students in alternative schools than there are in traditional (charter) high schools,” Aportela said.
Online district schools graduated 546 students, while online charter schools had 253. The graduation rate for district online schools was 54.55 percent and for charter online schools it was 27.20 percent.
The smallest number of graduates attended online alternative schools, with 405 students at charter alternative online schools and 12 students at district alternative online schools. The graduation rate for district online alternative schools was 42.86 percent and for charter alternative online schools it was 27 percent.
Forty-two percent of all graduates earn diplomas from A-rated schools
To determine if schools are graduating students prepared for college and career, Aportela also looked at the A-F letter grades of the schools Arizona students graduated from.
A significant number of Arizona high school graduates attended A-rated schools, with 24,484 students attending an A-rated district school and 2,262 attending an A-rated charter school.