Superintendent Elsie Arntzen Announces Graduation Rates and Dropout Rates with Proposed Solutions

Office of Public Instruction
  • Dennison Rivera
  • January 26 2022

HELENA, MT— Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen announces overall increased graduation rates while dropout rates also increased. In the previous 2020-2021 school year, the all-student state-wide graduation rate was 86.13%. This is an increase from the 2019-2020 school year of 0.24%, with a graduation rate of 85.89%. A total of 9,036 students graduated in the state of Montana in the spring of 2021.

“More flexibilities and an increase of COVID relief dollars have flowed into our locally controlled schools during these unprecedented times,” said Superintendent Elsie Arntzen. “I am proud of the parents, students, and teachers for the commitment to achieve an honored Montana high school diploma. We still have work to do. Join me in increasing mental health access and actively listening to our Montana youth to engage them in learning as they prepare for a healthy future. Working in Indian country, we established support to balance the obstacles American Indian youth may face by emphasizing resiliency through community resources, tribal consultation, and land-based knowledge.”

The 2020-2021 graduation rate for American Indian students was 68.30%, which is 0.88% lower than the previous year of 2019-2020 American Indian graduation rate of 69.18%. The achievement gap between American Indian students and the state average in the spring of 2021 was 17.83%.

The dropout rate calculates the number of students who dropped out of school in a single year divided by the total enrollment of students in that grade. A total of 1,747 students left school in the 2020-2021 school year. For grades 9-12, the dropout rate increased by 0.84%.  The dropout rate in the 2020-2021 school year was 3.75% and the dropout rate in the 2019-2020 school year was 2.91%. The dropout rate was distributed between the rural and urban schools in Montana. The dropout rates with respect to school classification, as given by the Montana high school Association (MHSA), were:

  • AA  4.03%
  • A    3.22%
  • B    4.37%
  • C    2.43%

In the previous 2019-2020 school year, the American Indian student dropout rate was 4.70%, a number that has increased in the 2020-2021 school year to 5.87%.