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HomeEducationBucking national trends, NYC’s 2021 graduation rates inched up as state eased...

Bucking national trends, NYC’s 2021 graduation rates inched up as state eased requirements

Graduation rates in New York City rose to 81% last school year, roughly 2 percentage points higher than the previous year, state officials announced Wednesday.
Across the state, 86% of students graduated — roughly 1 percentage point higher than the previous school year.
New York’s data comes as graduation rates have dipped in at least 20 states.
For the second year in a row, as the pandemic disrupted teaching and learning, state education officials made it easier to graduate in the 2020-2021 school year. They canceled most Regents exams and allowed students to be exempt from taking the exams to graduate, since many students were learning exclusively from home. Instead, students had to pass the course tied to the normally required Regents exam.
In New York City, about 60% of students remained fully remote, while the rest spent most of the year splitting weeks between learning from home and inside a classroom.
With two years of school disruptions, many of the city’s students had not taken enough of their Regents exams typically needed to earn diplomas. Because of that, nearly three-quarters of all New York City seniors — 44,545 — were granted at least one waiver last year for the exams, compared with roughly 8,000 seniors in 2020. Statewide, 82% of seniors were granted an exemption.
State education officials said they could not determine to what extent the cancellation of Regents exams impacted rising graduation rates.
Graduation rates of New York City’s Asian students far outpaced their peers. Roughly 91% of Asian students graduated within four years, compared with 82% of white students, 79% percent of Black students, and 78% of Latino students. Rates increased by 2 points for Asian students, 3 percentage points for Black students, and 4 points for Latino students, while dropping by 2 points for white students.
Students learning English as a new language and children with disabilities continued to graduate at significantly lower rates than their peers — but their rates improved compared to the previous year.
English learners posted a graduation rate of 60%, nearly 14 percentage points higher than last year. About 58% of students with disabilities earned their diplomas, 5 percentage points higher than 2020.
“Graduation rates are one metric we use to identify where inequities exist so we can better support our students and education communities,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. said in a statement. “Every student can succeed when given the support to do so. Until we address them, inequities will continue to diminish opportunities for too many students.”
The Board of Regents has again picked up an effort to reconfigure graduation requirements and has created a blue ribbon commission to study potential changes, but potential changes wouldn’t be considered until at least 2024.
That discussion had been stalled from March 2020 until last fall as state officials responded to the public health crisis. In October, state officials announced a pilot program for alternate ways of earning a diploma that don’t involve taking a Regents exam.



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