Abbey Wood

Ontario High School ASB President and valedictorian Abbey Wood talks to her classmates during graduation Wednesday.

ONTARIO — Oregon’s high school graduation rates have been released, and while the trend across the state shows an improvement across the board, local districts are more of a mixed bag.

The Oregon Department of Education released the rates on Thursday, and for half of the local school districts including Adrian, Nyssa, Ontario and Vale, graduation rates have gone up and down compared to the year before.

The updated data released by the department of education was current for the 2017-18 school year.

According to a news release from ODE, “The graduation rate for the 2017-18 school year was 78.7 percent, an increase of 2.0 percentage points compared to the previous year and 6.7 percentage points over four years. Every student group saw increases, and, for many historically underserved student groups, graduation rates increased more than the statewide average.”

Before diving into local numbers, it’s important to note just how this data is counted, to provide some clarity.

Graduation rates are counted using what is termed the “Four-year cohort graduation rate.” Essentially, to provide consistency in counting students, districts across Oregon use a cohort, or group of students educated at the same period of time, to count the number of graduating students.

The state then records what is known as the unadjusted and adjusted cohort for each of its districts. Adjusted cohorts are simply the number of students in that group who did not transfer out.

Increased rates in Ontario and Vale

Ontario and Vale school districts saw increases in their graduation rates up to a little more than 89 percent and 93 percent, respectively, up from 88.76 and 78.21 percent during the 2016-17 school year.

According to Taryn Smith, public relations and communications coordinator for Ontario School District in an email to the Argus, “This is almost 10% higher than the state average! More notably... Our grad rates have jumped over 37% in the past 6 years. the 2011-2012 school year’s grad rate was 52% and now we are nearing 90%!”

Ontario High School had an adjusted cohort of 167 students, with 135 of those earning their full Oregon diploma and 14 earning their modified diploma. Vale had an adjusted cohort of 76 students, with 57 earning their Oregon diploma and 14 their modified diploma.

The Hispanic/Latino group of student graduation rate numbers recorded by the state department of education also showed a more than 2 percent increase statewide, up to 74.6 percent.

Ontario High School has shown a positive trend with graduation rates for its Hispanic student population in the last few years, from about 77.5 percent in 2015-16 to 93.75 percent in 2017-18. Vale saw an improvement in its Hispanic population up to 100 percent in 2017-18, up from 78.57 percent the year before.

Adrian and Nyssa see drop

Adrian and Nyssa school districts, on the other hand, both saw decreases in their graduation rates. It should be noted, however, that in Adrian School District’s case, the adjusted cohort for graduates in 2017-18 was only 26 students, with 23 of those earning their Oregon diploma.

As a result, Adrian School District had little more than an 88 percent graduation rate in 2017-18, down from 100 percent in 2016-17.

Nyssa School District, on the other hand, has shown a downward trend in its graduation rate, from 91 percent in 2015-16, 86 percent in 2016-17, and 73 percent in the most updated data for 2017-18. It’s adjusted cohort for 2017-18 was 86 students, with 59 earning their Oregon diploma and four earning their modified diploma. That has coincided with a similar downturn in the graduation rate for the district’s Hispanic student population, from 91 percent in 2015-16, 81 percent in 2016-17, and 69.3 percent in 2017-18.

It’s important to keep Oregon’s graduation rate in perspective with that of the rest of the nation. While the state has seen improvements across the board, with a graduation rate that now sits at 78.7 percent, Oregon still lags behind the national average of 84 percent.

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