Superintendent Arntzen Announces Historically Low Dropout Rates for Montana
January 15, 2021
HELENA—Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen announces Montana is experiencing historic lows in dropout rates. The statewide dropout rate dropped below 2 percent for the first time in over a decade. These dropout rates may be considered an indicator for future increases in graduation rates. Last school year’s all-student graduation rate was a record 86.63 percent, the highest percent since 2011. The 2019-2020 all-student statewide graduation rate decreased slightly by .74 percent to a cumulative 85.89 percent.
American Indian students saw a .96 percent decline in dropout rates. The 2020 dropout rate for American Indian students was 4.79 percent compared to 5.75 percent in 2019, 5.85 percent in 2018, and 6.27 percent in 2017. Additionally, American Indian students are still graduating at a higher cumulative rate of 67.51 percent over the past four years (2017-2020) during Superintendent Arntzen’s Administration when compared to the 63.93 percent graduation rate of the four years prior (2013-2016).
“I am proud that during this most uncertain time, Montana students remain committed to their education,” State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen said. “Through my Montana Ready Initiative, the school-community connection is extremely important to keep students engaged and closing achievement gaps. Our schools are the backbone of Montana communities and I continue to listen to the unique needs of all Montana students.”
Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Montana’s Comprehensive Support and Improvement high schools have shown steady increases in graduation rates with an aggregate graduation rate of 65.93 percent in 2020 in comparison to 63.64 percent in 2019, 61.83 percent in 2018, and 58.31 percent in 2017.
The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is taking a diverse approach to post-secondary success. Under the Montana Ready Initiative, OPI is working with private sector partners and higher education to ensure that students graduate with skills that will allow them to succeed in college or the workforce immediately after completing high school.
Montana’s 2020 dropout rate calculates the number of students who dropped out in a single year divided by the total enrollment of students in that grade. More information can be found at the OPI’s data website here.
Sarah Swanson, Chief of Staff