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Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 a.m.

More state students graduating on time

Seattle Times staff reporter

The number of Washington students who graduate from high school on time rose to 72 percent in 2002, up from 70 percent in 1991, according to a new report by the Manhattan Institute, a New York-based think tank.

New Jersey had the highest graduation rate (89 percent), the institute said. Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota were second with 85 percent. Twenty-seven states had graduation rates higher than Washington's. The national average was 71 percent.

The Manhattan Institute, whose research has been used to support school choice and vouchers, uses a method for calculating the on-time graduation rate that many think is one of the best available. It estimates the size of the freshman class and then, after making some adjustments for migration into or out of a school, looks at the number of students who earn a diploma four years later.

For national comparisons, the 2002 figures were the latest available.

In Washington, the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction calculates the on-time graduation rate in a similar way. It reported an on-time graduation rate of 66 percent for the class of 2002 and the class of 2003.

As in past years, the institute found a range of graduation rates among ethnic groups. For the class of 2002 in Washington state, it found that white students had the highest on-time graduation rate at 74 percent. For African-American students, it was 59 percent, and for Latinos, it was 53 percent.

The report was sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Linda Shaw: 206-464-2359 or

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company



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