The Nevada Department of Education released the statewide cohort graduation rate for the class of 2016. Statewide, the public high school graduation rate rose more than 2.5 percentage points over the previous year – from 70.77 percent in 2015 to 73.55 percent in 2016. With this increase, Nevada schools graduated 1,060 more students in 2016 than in 2015.

“Nevada’s graduation numbers are trending in the right direction,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Over the past several years Nevada has been one of the fastest improving states in regards to graduation rate improvement, this year improving 2.5 percentage points alone. Our continued graduation rate improvement trend is another strong indicator that Nevada is on track to become the fastest improving state in the nation.”

Historically underserved student groups in Nevada saw their graduation rates improve but there still remains considerable work to be done to prepare all Nevada students for post-secondary success. Nevada’s English Learners demonstrated the most significant graduation rate improvement, with a gain of 10 percentage points. Despite this increase, EL students in Nevada continue to graduate at one of the lowest rates (42.58 percent) of all student subgroups. Nevada’s students with disabilities also continue to be an area of concern with a graduation rate of only 29.29 percent. Additionally, the graduation rates for Hispanic, American Indian and African American students in Nevada continue to lag behind the rates of most student subgroups.

“While the statewide average continues to trend up there is significant work to do to ensure that all Nevada students are college and career ready,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The gaps in our graduation rate between groups of students are a call to action. For too many of our students the likelihood of graduation is a 50-50 proposition. That is unacceptable.”

Nine school districts and the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA) improved their graduation rates in 2016. Storey County, Lincoln County and SPCSA increased their graduation rates by more than 9 percentage points, while Carson City, Lyon, Lander and Elko Counties saw their graduation rates increase between 5 and 7 percentage points. The Clark County School District increased their rate by 2.8 percentage points while Washoe and White Pine Counties increased their graduation rate just less than 2 percentage points. Churchill, Douglas, Humboldt and Mineral Counties all saw their rates decrease.

This is the sixth year Nevada has calculated graduation rates using the formula known as the adjusted cohort graduation rate, as required by the U.S. Department of Education. Although all 50 states now report graduation rates based upon a uniform formula, states award different types of high school diplomas to students and graduation requirements can vary considerably from state to state.

The Class of 2016 was the last class required to take the High School Proficiency Examination. Beginning in 2017, students will be required to participate in four End of Course exams in order to graduate. As a result of these changes, NDE expects these new requirements to impact graduation rates.