Jul 11, 2014

Jump Start Implementation Launches as State Pursues Future Increases

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Department of Education today announced that Louisiana’s four-year high school graduation rate increased for a third straight year, reaching 73.5 percent in 2013, a 1.2 percentage point increase from 2012 and a 12.2 percentage point increase since 2001. In the class of 2013 nearly 1,000 more students graduated than did in the class of 2012.

The announcement comes on the heels of news that the number of students achieving college-going ACT scores in Louisiana has increased by more than 5,200 since 2012.

“These increases are positive news for young adults, families, and all Louisianans,” said State Superintendent John White. “At the same time, while most Louisiana jobs do not require a four-year college degree, the majority require advanced credentials and education after high school.  Too few of our students are ready for that challenge as of today.”

“The graduation rate increase is encouraging and indicates that things are steadily moving in the right direction, but we are not yet where we want to be,” said Chas Roemer, BESE president. “It is important that Louisiana remain focused on its commitment to higher academic standards and expanded educational options to ensure students are fully prepared for success after high school.”

Below are the state’s historical graduation rates:


Cohort Graduation Rate

Class of 2001

61.3% (unofficial)

Class of 2006

64.8% (unofficial)

Class of 2007


Class of 2008


Class of 2009


Class of 2010


Class of 2011


Class of 2012


Class of 2013


To view state and district Cohort Graduation Rates, please click 

Persistent Challenges

The state continues to have significant challenges. Many students continue not to graduate on-time or at all. While some districts have relatively high graduation rates for students with disabilities, for example, in the class of 2013 overall, only 36.7 percent of students with disabilities graduated on-time. Also, though most jobs in Louisiana require education after high school, of all students who graduated in 2013, only 56 percent entered universities or community colleges as freshmen last fall.

To address these challenges, the Department will:

  • Expand Jump Start and the Career Diploma: Every district in the state has launched Jump Start, the state’s new program for school districts, colleges, and businesses to collaborate in providing career courses and workplace experiences to high school students, allowing them to continue their education after high school, certifying them for the career fields most likely to lead to high-wage jobs. 

    New funding opportunities supporting Jump Start are available through the Supplemental Course Allocation and the Career Development Fund.
  • Create Transitional 9th Grade: Struggling students will no longer be required to choose a career path in 8th grade in order to proceed to high school. Now, 8th grade students who are not proficient in reading and math may enroll at the appropriate high school site in a transitional 9th grade and take remedial coursework detailed in their Individual Graduation Plans. They will also be able to take courses (including electives) for credit in areas in which they are proficient, including Jump Start career course work.
  • Focus on Students with Disabilities: Prior to the start of the 2014-2015 school year, the Department will work closely with special education administrators, the Special Education Advisory Panel, parent representatives, and other stakeholders to develop policy and guidance related to the promotion and graduation of students with disabilities based on recent legislation. Over the next year, the Department will continue this partnership to analyze how improvements to the Minimum Foundation Program formula, accountability system, and Jump Start guidance can better serve students with disabilities.

Graduation Pre-Review

In establishing the cohort graduation rate, schools are held accountable for graduating students within four years from the start of high school.  If students dropout, schools are held accountable.  However, if students leave for legitimate reasons (“legitimate leavers”) (e.g., move out of state, move out of country, move to private school, homeschool), then the student is removed from the school’s and district’s calculation.

As part of the class of 2013 graduation rate calculation, the Department conducted a pre-review on a random sample of legitimate leaver exit codes in districts, the first such review since 2008, so as to ensure districts are maintaining proper documentation to support these exit codes. Results are available
here. Students without proper documentation as determined by the review were not counted as graduates in the class of 2013 graduation rate.

For the class of 2014, the Department will conduct pre-review in every district.


# # # # # #