Superintendent Arntzen Announces Second Consecutive Year of Record High Graduation Rates for Montana
January 9, 2020
HELENA—Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen announced Thursday that Montana once again saw record-high graduation rates for high school students in 2019, surpassing the previous year’s record high. The all-student statewide graduation rate for the 2018-2019 school year was 86.6 percent, the highest percent since 2011 when the state began using a four-year cohort definition to calculate graduation rates. The previous year’s graduation rate was 86.4 percent.
“I am proud that our state’s trend data is showing that more and more students are invested in their high school education,” State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen said Thursday. “The OPI will continue supporting families and schools in creating learning environments that are relevant to the future success of each individual student. That is how we will keep students engaged and close achievement gaps.”
American Indian students saw a slight decline in graduation rates after two previous years of growth and stability. The 2019 graduation rate for American Indian students was 66.7 percent compared to 67.5 percent in 2018 and 2017, and 63.0 percent in 2016. However, completion rates for American Indian students (taking more than 4 years to graduate but still receiving a diploma) are at a historic high of 70.2 percent.
Montana’s Comprehensive Support and Improvement high schools have shown steady increases in graduation rates with an aggregate graduation rate of 63.6 percent in 2019 compared to 61.8 percent in 2018 and 58.3 percent in 2017.
The OPI is in its second year of providing Comprehensive and Targeted Support and Improvement to underperforming Montana schools under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. These efforts include building comprehensive school improvement plans based on local needs assessments created by local school teams. It also includes professional development opportunities for schools that have specific student groups that are underperforming.
Hispanic students are a growing population in Montana and were designated as a major student subgroup last school year. They represent about 5 percent of the student population compared to about 11 percent American Indians and 78 percent white students. The Hispanic student graduation rate increased from 79.4 percent in 2018 to 83.1% in 2019.
Additionally, the OPI has taken a diverse approach to post-secondary success. The OPI has worked with higher education and private sector partners to ensure that students graduate with skills that will allow them to succeed in college or the workforce immediately after completing high school under the Montana Ready initiative.
Full details on Montana’s 2019 graduation data can be found at the OPI’s data website, including completion rates, dropout rates, and individual school data: https://gems.opi.mt.gov/StudentCharacteristics/.
CONTACT: Dylan Klapmeier
Director of Communications, Montana Office of Public Instruction