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Mass. Outside Top 10 for Graduation Rate, Dedham Above State Average

Massachusetts had an adjusted graduation rate of 83 percent for the 2010-2011 school year, while Dedham High School's adjusted graduation rate that year was 88.8 percent.

Massachusetts didn't make the top 10 high school graduation rates in the nation, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Education on Monday, but Dedham schools have a higher graduation rate than the state average.

The graduation rates released Monday are for the 2010-2011 school year—the first year for which all states used a common, adjusted four-year cohort graduation rate, according to a U.S. Department of Education press release.

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) spokesman JC Considine told Patch in an e-mail that Massachusetts has been computing cohort graduation rates since 2006, which are available on the DESE website.

According to the preliminary state-reported data, for the 2010-2011 school year Massachusetts had a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of 83 percent, which ties for 11th highest in the nation with six other states. Iowa had the highest rate at 88 percent. (See the PDF attached to this article for full results.)

Meanwhile, according to the DESE website, for the 2010-2011 school year Dedham High School had a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of 88.8.

The new common methodology eliminates the problem of comparing graduation rates between states that use varying calculation methods, according to the U.S. Department of Education press release, and meets the requirements of federal regulations instituted in October 2008.

The new graduation rate measurement also accurately accounts for students who drop out or who do not earn a regular high school diploma, the press release said.

"By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in the press release. "Ultimately, these data will help states target support to ensure more students graduate on time, college and career ready."

Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville told the Boston Globe that comparisons between states still present challenges due to varying graduation standards.

Final rates are expected to be released in the coming months.

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