The graduation rate for students with disabilities was 63.1 percent for the 2013-2014 school year, a record high but still significantly lower than that of their peers, the Department of Education announced December 15.
The rate represents an increase from that of 2012-2013, when 61.9 percent of students with disabilities graduated, up from 58 percent the year prior. It is also consistent with the national trend, which shows an overall improvement in graduation rates for each of the past four years, reaching the 82 percent mark according to the latest data.
“The hard work of teachers, administrators, students and their families has made these gains possible and as a result many more students will have a better chance of getting to college, getting a good job, owning their home, and supporting a family,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a blog post. “We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color.”
Graduation rates for students with disabilities vary dramatically between states. The state with the highest graduation rate for students with disabilities was Arkansas at 83.1 percent, followed by Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Jersey. Contrarily, Nevada reported just a 27.6 percent graduate rate, with Mississippi, Georgia, Alaska and Louisiana showing the next lowest rates.
In response to widespread discrepancies in how states report graduation rates, all states have used the graduation rate formula since 2010, known as the cohort graduation rate. This formula begins tracking students when they enter the 9th grade and calculates the percentage that graduate in four years.