Jan. 7, 2021 – Duval’s Class of 2020 earned a record-high graduation rate of 90.2 percent according to graduation data released by the Florida Department of Education today.
While the upward trajectory was not a surprise – as this continues a 10-year trend for Duval County Public Schools – the 3.7 percentage point jump from last year’s record is partially attributable to COVID-19 related changes.
That is because some state assessments – typically a graduation requirement – were waived for the 2019-20 school year, giving school districts across Florida a lift.
Statewide, approximately 7.1 percent of the 2019-20 graduating class utilized this exemption. In Duval County, 6.1 percent of students in traditional schools and 18.1 percent of charter students used the state assessment exemption.
How much impact this had on Duval’s rate is difficult to calculate, said Duval superintendent Dr. Diana Greene. However, that should not diminish Team Duval’s pride in this victory during these unprecedented times.
“Point by point, our graduation rate has been steadily increasing every year since 2012,” said Dr. Greene. “There’s no doubt that the work put in – from our pre-kindergarten teachers all the way to our senior graduation coaches – had a significant impact on our historically-high rate. The waived assessments propelled us in a direction we were already heading.”
“There is much to be proud of for our Class of 2020 students and all our educators,” said Corey Wright, assistant superintendent of data and assessment. “They faced unprecedented challenges in the final few months of their high school career, including trying to adapt to a new way of learning amid a global pandemic.”
With state assessments back in place for this year’s graduating class, Wright believes the class of 2021’s graduation rates may dip below this year’s rate. But the overall upward trajectory will continue.
“While we certainly feel this is cause to celebrate, comparing this year to future years will be difficult due to the COVID-19 impacts,” said Wright. “Pandemic or no pandemic, our main goal is to continue ensuring we are equipping students every day with the tools they need to be academically successful and prepared for life after high school.”
Highlights from Duval’s 2019-20 graduation rate data are as follows:
- Overall graduation rate increased to 90.2 percent, a 3.7 percentage point increase from the previous year, and a 26.9 percentage point increase over the last 10 years.
- The 26.9 percentage point increase exceeds the state’s rate of improvement of 19.4 percentage points.
- The gap between the state and district narrowed from 6.8 percentage points in 2011-12 to Duval County surpassing the state by 0.2 percentage points for the 2019-20 school year.
- Record high subgroup data was seen among African American, Hispanic, ELL, ESE, and Low SES students.
Additionally, all 21 traditional high schools exceeded the 90 percent graduation for the first time. Schools with substantial growth include Robert E. Lee (+6.39 percentage points); Ed White (+5.88 percentage points); and Wolfson (+3.74 percentage points).