Most school divisions in the Roanoke region and New River Valley reported a slight decline in on-time graduation rates this year, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
The state released graduation and completion data Tuesday. Across Virginia, 91.5% graduated on time with a state-approved diploma, down 1 point from a year ago. The statewide dropout rate also rose by 1 point.
In the region, four school systems reported an improved on-time graduation rate: Floyd, Franklin and Montgomery counties, and Roanoke.
In Floyd County, 98.7% graduated on time — the highest rate among area schools and a nearly 1 percentage point increase. Roanoke improved its on-time graduation rate by a small margin after reaching 90% for the first time a year ago. Franklin County rose from 90% to 90.6% Montgomery County increased by about half of a point to 96%.
Craig County, whose lone high school had a senior class of about 55, reported an 85.9% on time graduation rate, down 2 points from a year ago. Craig County improved its dropout rate, however, from 4.5% in 2018 to 3.1% this year.
Botetourt County reported no change in its on-time graduation rate of 95.3%.
Bedford, Giles, Pulaski and Roanoke counties, and the cities of Radford and Salem, all had small decreases in their on-time graduation but maintained a rate of at least 90%.
Despite the slight drop this year across Virginia, State Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said graduation statistics have improved over the long haul.
“Virginia’s on-time graduation rate has risen by more than 10 points in the decade since the department began reporting graduation rates that account for every student who enters the ninth grade,” Lane said in a news release. “I believe this long term, upward trend will continue as school divisions and the commonwealth adopt equitable policies and practices that provide instructional and support services tailored to the unique needs of every learner.”