Graduation rates in Florida and in Tampa Bay continue to climb, according to data released Wednesday by the Florida Department of Education.
Florida's overall graduation rate increased 1.6 percentage points to a new high of 82.3 percent. All four Tampa Bay counties graduation rate exceeded the 80 percent threshold, and two counties surpassed the state's average.
Hillsborough County saw the largest jump in its graduation rate, up 3.8 percentage points to 82.9 percent. The county is now tied with Pinellas County, the rate of which increased 1.8 percentage points, for the highest graduation rate in Tampa Bay.
Hernando County, which had the highest graduation rate for the class of 2016, saw the least amount of growth of 1.5 percentage points to a new rate of 82.6 percent. Though its rate grew 2.3 percentage points, Pasco County still lags behind Tampa Bay with a rate of 81.4 percent.
Federal regulations require each state to calculate graduation rates based on a four-year adjusted cohort, from freshman to senior year. It includes standard diplomas but excludes GEDs, both regular and adult, and special diplomas.
The graduation rate is used in Florida's school accountability system to calculate school grades.