New York City's high school graduation rate rose from 59% in 2009 to 61% in 2010, but only 35% of the graduates were prepared for college, the state and city reported today.
The 2010 graduation rate represents students who entered high school in 2006 and graduated in June of 2010 with either a Local or Regents diploma. (When August graduates are included, the city's rate rises to 65%). To obtain a Local diploma students need only a passing score of 55 on two of the five Regents exams; for a Regents diploma the passing score is 65. But, the Local diploma is being phased out and all students who enter 9th grade in 2008 or later need a score of 65 or above on all the exams to earn a diploma.
In addition to stiffening graduation requirements, the state has begun to measure how well high schools are preparing students for college. Testing experts told the State Education Department last year that nearly a quarter of students enrolled in New York State colleges needed to take remedial courses. The state calculates that students must score 80 or higher on the math Regents and at least 75 on the English Regents to be prepared for college. It also considers the number of graduates who earn Advanced Regents Diplomas, passing seven Regents exams with a score of 65. In 2010, 16.4% of NYC graduates earned an Advanced Regents Diploma, up from 12.5% in 2005. By those standards, referred to as "Aspirational Performance Measures," only 35% of the 2010 graduates were "college ready."
Statistics clearly show that the gap between the college-readiness rate at highly selective and specialized high schools and non-selective schools is huge, but graduates of some of the new, small schools also did well.
Among them: Manhattan/Hunter High School for Science had 75% of its entering 9th graders finish on time and ready for college, High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies, 74%, and Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics, 59% . Marble Hill High School for International Studies, a small school for new immigrants in the Bronx, had a college-readiness rate of 40%, higher than the city's average.
Over-all, schools created since 2002 have an average graduation rate of 65.7%, compared with 46.1% for schools the city decided to phase out.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott, heralded the improvement in graduation rates for black and Hispanic students, who make up 70% of the city's school population. "The graduation rate reached 60.6 % for black students and 58.2 % for Hispanic students, both increases of more than 20 points since 2005," according to the press release, although they are still lower than those of their white and Asian counterparts.