SALEM, Ore. (AP) - An audit found Oregon's Department of Education only made limited progress in addressing the state's dismal high school graduation rates.
The secretary of state's office said Wednesday that "significant work is needed" if Oregon wants to improve the number of high schoolers graduating within four years.
The report found the state only implemented less than half of the recommendations issued in response to a 2017 audit, which found the Department of Education wasn't doing enough to support low-income and transfer students.
Oregon has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country at 78.7 percent for the class of 2018. Although that number is an improvement over years' past, it's still six percentage points below the national average.
The Secretary of State's office said one in five public high school students don't graduate within four years.
The Department of Education said in a statement that it's made great strides in recent years addressing its graduation rate.
News release from the Secretary of State's Office:
Follow-up Report on Department of Education
Graduation Rates Audit
SALEM, OR — Secretary of State Beverly Clarno today released a report revealing that the Oregon Department of Education has fully or partially implemented only seven of 13 recommendations to improve Oregon’s near worst in the nation high school graduation rate. The recommendations were made in a 2017 audit overseen by former Secretary of State Dennis Richardson.
“While Oregon has seen a small increase in the high school graduation rate each of the past two years, we remain near the bottom of the national rankings,” said Secretary Clarno. “A student correctly answering slightly over 50% of the answers on a test would not be a passing grade, and fully or partially implementing slightly over 50% of these recommendations should also not be considered a passing grade.”
The report concluded that the ODE had made no progress toward implementing the following six recommendations: better serving students who change districts and schools; recommending initiatives and performance measures that focus on middle schools; supporting coordination between middle and high schools, helping districts better use improvement tools, and collecting and analyzing student grade and credit attainment data.
“Improving Oregon’s graduation rate must be a high priority for all of us,” said Secretary Clarno. “This report makes clear that there is still much more that needs to be done to ensure the success of all Oregon students.”
The full report can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.