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Graduation rates up across U.S. and York

Margarita Cambest
  • In Pennsylvania, graduation rates have topped national rates every year since 2010.
  • York County’s 16 school districts mostly trended up as well, with some exceptions.

More students are walking the stage and graduating today in the U.S. than five years ago.

York County School of Technology students graduate at Utz Arena York City, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. York Tech saw the greatest increase in its graduation rate among York County high schools. Dawn J. Sagert photo

President Barack Obama made the announcement Monday during a streamed address from Washington, D.C.’s Benjamin Banneker Academic High School.

Since the 2010-11 school year, national graduation rates have risen four percentage points to 83 percent from 79 percent, an increase the president attributed to his administration's efforts to improve public education and make it accessible to all.

Obama cited growth in early childhood education programs such as Head Start and state-funded preschool, increased technology in schools, a focus on rewarding excellent educators and a rewrite of No Child Left Behind as some of the many changes that he says have contributed to the increased graduation rates.

Graduation rates in York County district schools.

The growth in graduation rates has been steady since states adopted a uniform way of tracking students. In 2008, the George W. Bush administration ordered states to begin using a formula that is considered a more accurate count of how many students actually finish school.

In Pennsylvania, graduation rates have topped national rates every year since 2010, the first year all states used the same four-year adjusted measure of high school completion. Graduation rates for students in the commonwealth rose from 82.63 percent in 2010 percent to 86.7 percent in 2015.

York County’s 16 school districts mostly trended up as well, with some exceptions.

The graduation rates at Dover Area, Northern York, South Eastern, West Shore-Cedar Cliff and York City school districts all decreased between 2010 and 2015. Starting in 2013, state statistics listed West Shore School District as two separate entries, West Shore-Cedar Cliff High School and West Shore-Red Land High School.

York County School of Technology saw the biggest increase, from 76.65 of its students graduating in 2010 to 90.06 percent in 2015.

Despite the increase in the graduation rate, The Associated Press reports test scores are declining.

Last year, math scores for fourth- and eighth-graders dropped for the first time in 25 years on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress — also known as the Nation's Report Card. Reading scores were not much better: flat for fourth-graders and lower for eighth-graders compared with 2013. Average scores on SAT and ACT college entrance exams also have shown declines.

View the president's full address here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

York County Graduation Rates By School District

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Education

Central York93.5592.491.9995.8893.6
Dallastown Area93.8393.8792.2893.8195.75
Dover Area90.0890.0489.2288.5485.66
Eastern York91.5493.8894.0993.4495.58
Hanover Public77.1277.3481.5489.5785.71
Northeastern York78.6384.788.7888.887.7
Northern York County92.9691.9791.6796.3791.71
Red Lion Area87.2188.3390.2492.5689.83
South Eastern90.9593.2793.0692.7989.55
South Western92.3894.2192.2397.3195.81
Southern York County94.3794.3595.1897.7298.28
Spring Grove Area91.5792.8393.8596.3595.42
West Shore-Cedar Cliff89.2187.3790.8584.4685.81
West Shore-Red Land89.2187.3790.8591.3490.91
West York Area88.9992.8988.1494.8593.33
York City73.5471.4380.5682.4773.39
York Suburban8993.1787.892.6694.52
York County School of Technology76.6579.2590.1786.590.06