RICHMOND (AP) -- Virginia education officials say 88 percent of students in the class of 2012 graduated after four years of high school.
The Virginia Department of Education said Tuesday that the on-time graduation rate for public high school students who were first-time ninth-graders in 2008 rose more than a percentage point from the previous year's class.
On-time graduation has increased more than 7 percent since the agency first reported rates in 2008.
Of the 97,023 students who began high school in 2008, the dropout rate was 6.5 percent, down from 7.2 percent in the previous year's class. That rate has fallen by more than 25 percent in the last five years.
'More students graduating on time from Virginia's schools means we have more young people who are college or career ready,' said Governor Bob McDonnell in an email announcing the results. 'This is good news for all Virginians. While we continue to move in the right direction, our job will not be done until students in every school and every zip code have the opportunity to learn and graduate from high school prepared to succeed at the next level.'
High schools have had to meet annual graduation and completion benchmarks to earn full state accreditation since the 2010-11 academic year.
'The statewide improvements we celebrate today are the result of hundreds of individual success stories involving teachers, administrators and other educators who provided struggling and sometimes troubled students with the instruction, support and encouragement they needed to persevere and complete their diploma requirements,' added Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright.
DROPOUT RATES FOR HAMPTON ROADS REGION:
FRANKLIN: 15.9 %
PORTSMOUTH: 11.7 %
NORFOLK: 10.7 %
SUFFOLK: 9.9 %
NEWPORT NEWS: 6.1%
GLOUCESTER: 5.9 %
VIRGINIA BEACH: 5.9 %
HAMPTON: 5.2 %
CHESAPEAKE: 4.4 %