Class of 2018 Achieves Highest Graduation Outcomes in Louisiana History

Graduation rates, college and career credential attainment, and TOPS eligibility have reached all-time high, the state Department of Education announced today.

More Louisiana students graduated from high school in four years in 2018—than ever before, the agency says. More graduates than ever before also earned college credits and highly valued industry credentials, in addition to Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarships, making the Class of 2018 the highest achieving in state history.

“The positive results announced today reflect many years of relentless focus in our schools, and more progress is on the horizon,” said State Superintendent John White. “As we celebrate extraordinary increases in high school graduation, postsecondary credentials, and TOPS, let us re-commit ourselves to assuring a path to what comes next for every graduate.”

Last year, Louisiana graduated 40,124 students, up from 39,395 in 2017 and 35,332 in 2012. Louisiana’s high school graduation rate increased from 78.2 percent in 2017 to 81.4 percent in 2018. It has improved 9.1 percentage points since 2012, a faster rate than the national average of 4.6.

Iberville Parish had the highest graduation rate of 93.7 percent in 2018, up from 86.2 percent in 2017 and 59.9 percent in 2012.

“The Iberville Parish School System is increasing the graduation rate and strength of diploma by making high school more meaningful through relevant career and college pathways for our students,” said Iberville Parish Schools Superintendent Arthur Joffrion.

“A 93.7 percent graduation rate, coupled with 69 percent of our students graduating with a Basic or Advanced credential, is much to celebrate. We are proud of our students, parents, school employees and board for their diligence in ensuring students graduate from high school prepared for their chosen future whether that be college or the workforce.”

The number of graduates earning early college credit and industry career credentials also increased by 6,385 since 2013. The percent of Louisiana’s graduation cohort earning college and career credentials increased from 47.5 percent in 2017 to 50.4 percent in 2018, and the credential rate improved by 12.9 percentage points since 2013.

The Class of 2018 saw growth in the number of students who were eligible for TOPS scholarships, a record 31 percent increase.

Louisiana has worked to strengthen accountability standards and diploma requirements; expanded its Jump Start program; has supported opportunities for students to earn postsecondary credits in high school (including dual enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and International Baccalaureate), and has aligned coursework with college admissions and TOPS requirements.

Key highlights are:

Louisiana’s African-American graduation rate is, for the first time, higher than the national average. More than 78 percent of African-American students graduated, up from 72.9 percent in 2017 and nearly 66 percent in 2013. The latest average national graduation rate is 77.8 percent.

Historically disadvantaged student groups have narrowed the graduation achievement gap with their peers. Nearly 76 percent of economically disadvantaged students graduated, up from about 73 percent in 2017 and nearly 68 percent in 2013. Nearly 60 percent of students with disabilities graduated in 2018—more than double the number of those in 2013.

More students than ever before earned Advanced college and career credentials. Of the students in the Class of 2018 who earned credentials, 15 percent earned Advanced credentials, such as passing an AP or CLEP test, or earned a National Center for Construction Education and Research, or NCCER, level-two credential in a craft trade. In 2013, less than 4 percent of graduates earned Advanced credentials.

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