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Graduation Rates for Individual High Schools Unveiled

The U.S. Department of Education today posted online data on the graduation-rate performance of individual schools.

The new data follow state-level graduation rates for 2010-11 that the department released in December.

Both sets are based on states' use of a common measure for graduation rates—the first school year they've done so—making it easier to compare student success across states and schools.

The new Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate was designed to give a more accurate picture of high school completion. It calculates the percent of students entering 9th grade who graduate four years later. In the past, some states have tracked high school graduation rates using different formulas.

The ACGR released last year reflected a wide variation in student performance by state. In Iowa, 88 percent of 9th graders completed high school within four years while just 59 percent of those in the District of Columbia did.

The information posted today looks more closely at the school level, allowing states to review the patterns of performance in districts and individual communities.

Providing the data reflects an effort to improve transparency and equip families with information to hold schools accountable, according to a statement from the Education Department.

"Having good information is critical to making good decisions, and these high school graduation rates are a vital tool to help parents and school leaders make useful comparisons of student growth and success," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement. "These data will also help state, district, and school leaders better gauge progress and support their work to help more students graduate on time, ready for college and careers."

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