HS grad rate falls in Queens in 2012

City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott speaks at Springfield High School's graduation this year. Last year's Queens high school graduation rate saw a decrease, while the percentage of students leaving college-ready ticked up.
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The graduation rate for Queens high schoolers dropped about 2 percent last year as changes were made to diploma requirements, but the percentage of pupils leaving college-ready climbed, with Hispanic students making gains on closing the education gap.

Of the more than 20,800 students who entered the 9th grade in 2008 63.6 percent graduated on time last year, down from about 65 percent in 2011, figures released earlier this week by the state Education Department show.

The class of 2012 was the first for whom the less-rigorous local diploma was not an option, as the state now requires all students to pass all five Regents Exams with a score of 65 or better to earn a Regents Diploma.

Across the city, the rate showed a nominal dip to 60.4 percent and Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the gains city schools have seen during the past decade.

“Since taking control of a failing school system, graduation rates have increased even as requirements have become harder, fewer students are dropping out and more are taking the time to earn their diplomas,” he said.

While the graduation rate dipped in Queens, the percentage of students who graduated college-ready rose more than 5 percent, though the rate still remains alarmingly low.

For the class of 2012, 24.5 percent of students scored better than an 80 on their math Regents and a 75 on their English Regents, the standards required to test out of remedial classes at the City University of New York.

That was up from 23.3 percent from the year earlier.

While students across-the-board made gains in college preparedness, Hispanic students outpaced Asian, white and black pupils with a 10 percent increase for a college-ready rate of 16.2 percent.

The graduation rate for Hispanic students, however, dropped to 57.6 percent.

Asian students made small gains in both measures, and continued to have both the highest graduation (77.5 percent) and college-readiness (45 percent) rates.

The graduation rate for black students dropped more than 7 percent — the largest dip among the four major racial groups — to 53.9 percent. Black students did get a 2.9 percent bump in their college-readiness rate, but less than 11 percent of students were making the CUNY standards.

White students had the second-highest graduation rate in Queens at 72.6 percent, a 1.3-percent drop from 2011. Their college readiness rate climbed about 3 percent to 33.4 percent, also second in the borough.

Females graduated at a rate of close to 70 percent in 2012 and had a college-readiness rate of more than 28 percent, while males lagged behind with a 58 percent grad rate and a college-preparedness rate of 21 percent.

The Bard High School of Early College in Long Island City was one of four schools across the city to graduate 100 percent of its students. Flushing’s Townsend Harris High School, with a 98.5 percent college-readiness rate, was second only to the Bronx High School of Science.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 2:01 am, June 21, 2013
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