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Regional Graduation Rate Close to Tops in Region

Here's how Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School's graduation rate compares to other North Shore public high schools.

Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School's graduation rate is among the top graduation rates - but not at the top - on the North Shore.

Recent data on nationwide high school graduation rates has placed Massachusetts outside the top 10 states in the nation with an average of 83 percent of students graduating.

The preliminary data was based on four-year cohort groups and released by the U.S. Department of Education last week. Final numbers will be released in the coming months.

For the 2010-2011 school year, Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School had a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of 97.6 percent. That's among the top rates on the North Shore, behind Masconomet Regional High School's near 100 percent but ahead of Manchester-Essex Regional High School and marblehead High School.

The most up-to-date graduation rates released last week are for the 2010-2011 school year — the first year for which all states used a common, adjusted four-year cohort graduation rate, according to a U.S. Department of Education press release.

According to the preliminary state-reported data, for the 2010-2011 school year Massachusetts had a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of 83 percent, which ties for 11th highest in the nation with six other states. Iowa had the highest rate at 88 percent. (See the PDF attached to this article for full results.)

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) spokesman JC Considine said that Massachusetts has been computing cohort graduation rates since 2006, which are available on the DESE website.

The new common methodology eliminates the problem of comparing graduation rates between states that use varying calculation methods, according to the U.S. Department of Education press release, and meets the requirements of federal regulations instituted in October 2008.

The new graduation rate measurement also accurately accounts for students who drop out or who do not earn a regular high school diploma, the press release said.

"By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in the press release. "Ultimately, these data will help states target support to ensure more students graduate on time, college and career ready."

Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville told the Boston Globe that comparisons between states still present challenges due to varying graduation standards.

Here's how North Shore high schools compare:

SCHOOL RATE Masconomet 99.4 Lynnfield High 97.8 Hamilton-Wenham 97.6 Manchester-Essex 97.3 Marblehead High 96.9 Swampscott 96.8 Ipswich 95.4 Wakefield
93.5 Danvers
90.6 Beverly
88.4 Salem Academy 87.1 Peabody
82.2 Salem
81.7 Lynn English 80.2 Lynn Classical 75.3

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