Credit: Credit: Matt Bennett/Governor Patrick's Office

Nine out of 10 students in Albemarle County’s class of 2013 graduated high school in four years, according to new numbers from the Virginia Department of Education.

This year’s mark of 93.4 percent is up from last year’s rate of nearly 92 percent, and tops the state average of 89.1 percent. State-wide, graduation rates are up 7.8 points since 2008.

“Every one-point improvement in the state graduation rate represents another 1,000 young men and women who have earned diplomas and are able to pursue postsecondary and career opportunities that otherwise would be off limits,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said. 

Additionally, the number of Albemarle students dropping out of high school decreased from 4.14 percent to 3.3 percent, which is below the state’s average dropout rate of nearly 6 percent.

While 55.8 percent of Virginia seniors earned Advanced Studies Diplomas last year, 69 percent of the County’s 696 graduates earned the top diploma.

What’s more, Albemarle Assistant Superintendent Billy Haun said, is that 86 percent of Albemarle seniors plan to seek higher education after high school. Fifty-nine percent of those are choosing four-year colleges or universities. Eleven percent plan to enter the workforce.

“We place a great deal of emphasis on preparing our graduating students for success in college and the workforce,” Haun said. “The on-time graduation rate is the industry standard for recognizing excellence. Together with strong SAT scores and the help of outstanding teachers and supportive parents, our students are positioning themselves for that success,” he added.

Charlottesville’s on-time graduation rate of 80.6 percent fell from the previous year’s mark by 6.7 percent. Additionally, the City’s dropout rate rose from 7.8 percent last year to 10.2 percent

“While we are disappointed by a decrease in the school’s on-time graduation rate, it’s a challenge that we are addressing by looking at the students as individuals,” Charlottesville Assistant Superintendent Beth Baptist said. “The CHS leadership literally examines each student’s progress toward graduation, to look at the credits they’ve earned and the SOLs they’ve passed, and so on. When necessary, we schedule conferences with students and families to try to help them succeed.”

“There are a number of different ways that the states and federal government report graduation numbers for accountability purposes,” Haun said, “but graduating your students within four years is the purest way to determine how well school divisions are preparing their students for lifelong-learning and success.”