Florida, Tampa Bay see some gains in graduation rates
Florida's graduation rate continues on a nine-year high, according to the Florida Department of Education.
Data shows 77.8 percent of students within the state graduated within four years of their first enrollment in ninth grade, a 1.7 percentage-point increase since last year and an 18.5 percentage-point increase since 2005. The data does not include students who earn a special diploma, GED-based diploma, certificate of completion or those who might have been retained.
Minority students also graduated at higher rates. African American and Hispanic students' graduation rates increased 3.2 percentage points and 1.7 percentage points, respectively, since last year. Both groups' rates rose 9.3 percentage points and 7.3 percentage points over the past five years. Male and female Asian students on average have the highest graduation rate of 90.8 percent.
Pasco County leads the Tampa Bay area with a graduation rate of 78.6 percent, however its rate decreased from last year's rate of 79.4 percent. While Pasco saw a slight decrease, other counties in the area made improvements in their graduation rates. Pasco is trailed by Pinellas County (78.3 percent), Hernando County (78 percent), Citrus County (77.4 percent) and Hillsborough County (76 percent).
Although Hillsborough falls behind the Tampa Bay area, its rate increased the most in the past year, gaining 2.5 percentage points. Pinellas has seen the most improvement over five years, with an increase of 13.1 percentage points since 2010-11 when its graduation rate was 65.2 percent.
Despite Florida's gains, the state is far behind the national average of 82.3 percent in 2013-14, the latest year available from the U.S. Department of Education, which ranks Florida in the bottom 10 states for graduation rates.
To see a state-by-state analysis, click here.