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Graduations declined in 2022, but college and career readiness improved

Several schools still lagged behind with less than 50 percent of students college and career ready.

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New data from the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) shows that graduation rates dipped in the state in 2022, but college and career readiness improved.

The Class of 2022 faced particular challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which struck when they were sophomores and persisted through their junior year. In both those years, the number of kids who dropped out was elevated: over 1,000 juniors from the Class of 2022 cohort dropped out, more than double the number of juniors that dropped out in the Class of 2021.

Ultimately, 89 percent of seniors graduated compared to 92 percent in 2021. But the class of 2022 posted a significant jump in the percentage of college-and-career-ready seniors thanks to a jump in the percentage of students earning workforce-related credentials and an increase in dual enrollment.

In 2022, 79 percent of seniors were certified as college and career ready, up from 76 percent in 2021 despite a large drop in the percentage of seniors testing college ready on the ACT.

Last year, one system and 24 schools reported a 100 percent on-time graduation rate. This year, one system, Magic City Acceptance Academy, and only fourteen high schools reported a 100 percent on-time graduation rate. Fourteen high schools reported both 100 percent graduation and 100 percent college and career ready rate. 
On the other hand, 15 schools had graduation rates below 75 percent, while 19 high schools had CCR rates below 50 percent. Only nine school systems had a gap greater than 25 percent between their graduation rate and the college and career readiness rate. In those systems, more than a quarter of students receiving diplomas hadn’t demonstrated their readiness for college or work, despite having met Alabama’s requirements for obtaining a high school diploma.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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