For Immediate Release: Jan. 19, 2023
JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released today the 2021-22 school year graduation and dropout rates, which reflect the highest statewide graduation rate of 88.9% and a statewide dropout rate of 9%.
Rates are based on students who entered ninth grade for the first time during the 2018-19 school year. Among students with disabilities, the graduation rate increased to 67.1%, and the dropout rate was 19.3%.
MDE’s latest figures mark a continuing positive trend for Mississippi’s students. The statewide graduation rate was 74.5% in 2014 and has increased annually. The statewide dropout has decreased from 13.9% in 2014.
The current dropout rate figures reflect a .5% increase from 2020-21 and a .9% increase among students with disabilities. The graduation rate does not include students who earn a GED or a certificate of completion or who are still enrolled in their fifth year of high school. There were fewer students in those categories in 2021-22 than the previous year, which attributed to the increased dropout rate.
Mississippi’s graduation rate exceeds the latest U.S. rate of 86.5% from 2019-20 reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
“I’m proud of Mississippi’s students and educators for reaching another historic graduation rate milestone,” said Dr. Robert Taylor, state superintendent of education. “The MDE will continue to provide essential services and support for all students to stay in school and graduate to achieve academic and career success.”
The MDE has implemented various programs and initiatives to help students stay in school and earn their diplomas. Several factors that may have contributed to the overall improvement of the graduation and dropout rates include the following:
Endorsements - High school students can earn an endorsement with their high school diploma. Starting in ninth grade, students choose whether they want to work toward a traditional diploma, or take additional classes to earn an academic, distinguished academic or career and technical education endorsement. Students can earn more than one endorsement.
Each diploma option prepares students to be successful after graduation, whether in the workforce, a career and technical training program, the military or college.
Students who earn an academic or distinguished academic diploma endorsement from a public high school automatically qualify for admission into any of the state’s public universities. The endorsement opportunity was phased in during the 2018-19 school year and was fully implemented at the end of 2021-22.
Mississippi Early Warning System – The MDE developed this program in 2016 that offers guidance to school districts and schools to identify, support and monitor at-risk students in grades K-12. Intervention is provided for students who need assistance to reach graduation and be ready for college and career.
Pandemic disruptions have also had an impact on the graduation rate. Due to COVID-19, the passing requirements for high school Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History assessments were waived in 2020-21. This will affect the graduation rate until all students who tested under the waivers graduate.
View the 2022 Graduation Rate Report at mdek12.org/OPR/Reporting/Accountability/2023.
Find all MDE news releases at mdek12.org/news.
Jean Cook, APR
Chief of Communication
Public Information Officer