PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After two school years in which in-person learning was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon schools are seeing an increase in students who are on track to graduate.
This information was released along with other data in the Oregon Department of Education’s 2021-22 At-a-Glance School and District Profiles. These annual profiles set out to inform parents, guardians and the community about how schools are supporting students.
The profiles include previously reported data from the 2020-2021 school year, previously-reported graduation data for the class of 2021 and new assessment data from the prior school year.
For the past two years, the data on class sizes, regular attenders and average English language arts, mathematics and science grades were omitted due to pandemic disruptions such as the Delta variant that dominated fall 2021 and the Omicron variant that dominated the following seasons.
These data elements were restored this year. ODE reported that the rate of regular attenders, or students who are present for more than 90% of their school days, fell to 64%. Before the pandemic, this rate was 16% higher.
Two additional data elements were modified on the latest profile: the free and reduced lunch rates reflect the increasing number of students who have access to free meals, and there is now information on the 3,064 students in foster care.
For Portland Public Schools, ODE reported that only 38% of the foster care students graduated high school on time in spring 2021. PPS’s overall on-time graduation rate for that year was 83% — 2% higher than the statewide average.
The profile includes the percentage of spring 2020 graduates who enrolled in postsecondary education by fall 2021 as well. 61.8% of the class of 2018 enrolled in public or private two-year or four-year schools. This rate fell to 56.4% for the class of 2020. The national college enrollment rates also reflect these findings.
Another key finding from the profile was that in the 2021-2022 school year, the rate of ninth graders who are on track to graduate grew to 83%. That is 2% below the pre-pandemic 2018-2019 year, but still 9% more than the previous school year.
“While we must continue to back students with the academic, social, emotional and mental health support they need, it’s encouraging to see the critical 9th Grade On-Track numbers rise as students returned to in-person instruction,” Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill said.
The number of school districts staff members, including teachers and counselors across the state also grew, and even topped pre-pandemic data. ODE reports that the number of counselors in Oregon schools has grown by 205 people since the 2018-19 school year.
Further data from ODE is available on the At-A-Glance Profiles and Accountability page.
School districts are required to share them with their community as well.