New data from the Iowa Department of Education shows more students are leaving high school before graduation. Last year, 4,782 9th-through-12th graders in Iowa dropped out of high school. That rate of 3.15% compares to 4,399 dropouts or 2.85% during the 2007-08 school year.
Elaine Watkins-Miller, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Education, says a recently installed system allows state officials to keep better track of students and may account for the slight jump in the dropout rate.
“Last year, we began tracking students through a state I.D. number and really looking at detailed information about students,” Watkins-Miller said. “We think that still might be part of why we’re seeing that really slight increase in dropout rates.”
Iowa’s high school dropout rate is well below the national average. The most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Education show 8.7% of high school students dropped out in 2007. In general, Iowa’s larger school districts reported the highest dropout rates. The Ottumwa School District reported the highest dropout rate of 9.3%.