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Bowser Administration Announces Graduation Rates and Release of 2020 DC School Report Card

Thursday, December 3, 2020
City’s schools see 3 percent increase in graduation rate for 2019-20 school year

Today, the Bowser Administration announced a nearly three percentage point increase in the four-year graduation rate for the 2019-20 school year. According to Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) data, 70.9 percent of students in District of Columbia high schools graduated in four years compared to 68.2 percent the prior school year.

The Bowser Administration also announced the release of the 2020 DC School Report Card, which includes the graduation rate as well as several other updated measures. The DC School Report Card can be accessed at DCSchoolReportCard.org.

“Particularly given the unanticipated challenges presented by COVID-19, I am encouraged to see an increase in our graduation rate,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “This demonstrates the resilience of the District’s students and teachers, as well as the families and community partners who are committed to ensuring our young people have a fair shot and the resources necessary to succeed in college and career.”

The four-year graduation rate for DC Public Schools (DCPS) is 68.68 percent, an increase of 3.6 percentage points.​ The four-year graduation rate for public charter schools (PCS) is 76.58 percent, a slight increase of 0.22 percentage points.​ The four-year adjusted cohort consisted of 4,802 students who entered ninth grade in the 2016-17 school year. Of those students, 3,405 graduated high school by spring 2020.​ Since OSSE began using the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate in the 2010-11 school year, the graduation rate for the District of Columbia has increased by 12 percentage points, as demonstrated by the table below.

District of Columbia Statewide 4-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate

School Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate
2019-20 70.9%
2018-19 68.2%
2017-18 68.5%
2016-17 72.4%
2015-16 69.2%
2014-15 65.4%
2013-14 61.4%
2012-13 61.5%
2011-12 61%
2010-11 58.6%

DC saw increases across multiple student groups. The graduation rate for Hispanic/Latino students increased 3.84 percentage points, the rate for African-American students increased 2.54 percentage points, and the rates for English learners, students with disabilities, and students who are at risk increased 4.50, 2.54, and 2.24 percentage points, respectively.

Nineteen high schools and two alternative high schools had graduation rate increases in the 2019-20 school year. Nine high schools posted four-year graduation rates above 90 percent: Benjamin Banneker High School​, Duke Ellington School of the Arts​, KIPP DC - Somerset College Preparatory PCS, McKinley Technology High School​, School Without Walls​, BASIS DC PCS​, Friendship PCS – Friendship Technology High School​, Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School, and E.L. Haynes PCS – High School​.

DC's four-year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate exceeds the District’s 2020 goal of 70.5 percent graduation rate in DC’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan.

The District uses the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR), a federally required methodology used by all states to maintain a consistent standard for high school graduation rate reporting. Under the ACGR, a cohort of students who entered school as first-time ninth graders in the 2016-17 school year was tracked for four years to determine the total number of students who graduated from high school in the 2019-20 school year with a regular diploma.

OSSE has included updated graduation data on the 2020 DC School Report Card, along with several other data points from the 2019-20 school year. Due to the cancellation of state-wide assessments in spring 2020 as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, student outcomes for English Language Arts and Math are not included in the 2020 DC School Report Card. However, school profiles are updated with other collected data points along with updated contact and profile information for each school.

“The 2020 DC School Report Card continues to be a robust tool for educators, families, researchers and the community, offering a wealth of data points over time – such as four-and five-year graduation rates, college enrollment rates and teacher and health staff data,” said Interim State Superintendent Shana Young. “As we enter the school lottery season – with a virtual EDFest kicking off Saturday, Dec. 12 – the DC School Report Card is just one more tool offering families valuable information to help them choose the right school for their students as they browse their options online.”

Access the 2020 DC School Report Card at DCSchoolReportCard.org. For more information on the District’s four-year ACGR, visit OSSE’s website. And for more information about the 2020 DC EDFest and to register for the virtual event, see here.