Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)  -  The Rochester School District’s high school graduation rate was steady last year after taking a nearly 3-percentage point jump the previous year.

The latest data from the Minnesota Department of Education indicates just over 85.8-percent of the students enrolled in the Rochester Public Schools managed to earn a diploma last year after completing four years of high school. The rate in 2016 was 86.2-percent, while the statewide rate for 2017 was the highest on record at 82.7-percent.

The report includes data that reflects progress toward erasing the so-called “achievement gap” between white and minority students. State officials note the overall graduation rate in Minnesota has risen 4.3-percentage points since 2012, while the rate for non-white students climbed over 11-percentage points during the same period.

"I am so proud of the work our teachers, administrators and communities have done to increase the number of Minnesota students graduating, and to reduce the likelihood that a child’s race or ZIP code will predict their outcome," said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. "Most of all, I’m proud of our students. They are better prepared and are less likely to require remedial education."

In the Rochester School District, Hispanic students continued to make strong gains with the graduation rate in that population subgroup increasing nearly 20-percentage points over the past two years to almost 79-percent in 2017. The graduation rate among black students remained over 10-points above the state average at just over 75-percent even though the rate was down slightly last year after rising almost 10-percentage points in 2016.

The Minnesota Department of Education notes the graduation rate calculations changed this year due to the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind Law. The historical data was also recalculated based on the new legislation.

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