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It was mostly – thought not exclusively – good news for Arlington’s public schools, as on-time-graduation rates for the Class of 2019 continued an upward trend, according to new state data.

A total of 92.5 percent of Arlington students who began high school four years before completed it on time this past June, compared to 91.5 percent statewide, according to data reported Oct. 8 by the Virginia Department of Education.

Arlington’s rate is up from 92.2 percent in 2018 and from 91.6 percent in 2017, and continues a trend that has been ongoing since Arlington school officials a decade ago put an emphasis on reducing dropout rates and getting students through high school on time.

Between 2018 and 2019, the on-time-graduation rate for various sub-groups of the student body bobbed up and down. Rates in 2019 were higher for male students (91.1 percent), black students (94.7 percent), Asian students (96.5 percent) and English-language learners (77.1 percent, up two full percentage points). The graduation rate was down for female students (94.1 percent) and white students (98.5 percent) and down slightly for Latino students (81.4 percent).

Sixty-five percent of Arlington graduates earned advanced degrees in 2019, compared to 51.5 percent statewide.

The news from Arlington was not entirely positive, however, as the dropout rate increased from 5 percent in 2018 to 5.6 percent in 2019 – no better than the statewide rate.

The 2019 data look at more than 98,000 students statewide who entered a Virginia high school four years before. State education leaders say that, overall, the trend is moving in the right direction.

“Virginia’s on-time-graduation rate has risen by more than 10 points in the decade,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “I believe this long-term, upward trend will continue as school divisions and the commonwealth adopt [policies and practices] that provide instructional and support services tailored to the unique needs of every learner.”

Statewide, the dropout rate for the Class of 2019 was 1.7 percent for Asian students, 2.9 percent for white students, 6.2 percent for black students, 8.2 percent for students from economically disadvantages families, 9.1 percent for students with disabilities, 16.5 percent for Latino students and 25.8 percent for English-language learners.

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