About Pinellas Kids

Graduation Rates

Public High School Graduation Rate

What is it?

The Florida public high school graduation rate is a cohort graduation rate and measures the percentage of students who graduate within four years of their first enrollment in ninth grade. It includes adjustments to reflect students transferring into and out of a district, deceased students and transfers (private school, home education, etc.)

There are currently three high school graduation rates reported by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE). In 2010-11, a fourth graduation rate, the Federal Uniform Rate, will be reported. A brief description of each graduation rate is shown below. Additional details can be obtained from the FLDOE’s data report for 2008-09 (click link below):


  • NGA Graduation Rate: The NGA (National Governor’s Association) graduation rate includes all students receiving standard and special diplomas - it excludes students receiving a GED. The NGA rate is now considered to be Florida’s official state graduation rate and will be used by the Florida State Board of Education in 2009-10 and 2010-11. It will be used in place of the Florida rate in the new high school grading formula until the new federal rate (the Federal Uniform Graduation Rate) becomes effective in 2011-12.  
  • Florida Graduation Rate: The Florida graduation rate includes all students receiving a standard diploma, special diploma or GED and is the highest of all reported graduation rates. The Florida Graduation Rate is the rate historically reported by the Florida Department of Education.  
  • Federal Uniform Graduation Rate (FUR): Also called the “Uniform Comparable Graduation Rate or the Four-year Adjusted Graduation Rate,” this graduation rate only includes students receiving a standard diploma. It will be used by the U.S. Department of Education to compare graduation rates between states. The FLDOE plans to replace the NGA Graduation Rate with the Federal Uniform Graduation Rate for high school grading in school-year 2011-12.  
  • NCLB Graduation Rate: The NCLB (No Child Left Behind) graduation rate includes all students receiving a standard diploma or a GED Exit Option Model diploma. It excludes students receiving a special or GED diploma.  
  • The GED Exit Option is a graduation strategy offered to students at risk of not graduating with their cohort to earn a high school diploma by successfully completing both the FCAT and the GED. 

The following table summarizes the four graduation rates types and the diplomas included and excluded for each type: 

Graduation Rate

Diploma Type Included

Diploma Type Excluded


  • Standard
  • Special
  • GED


  • None


  • Standard
  • Special
  • GED
  • GED Exit Option Model

Federal Uniform


  • Standard
  • Special
  • GED
  • GED Exit Option Model


  • Standard
  • GED Exit Option Model
  • Special
  • GED

How are we doing? 

Pinellas County’s high school graduation rates have increased significantly since the 2006-07 school year:

  • Pinellas’ NGA Graduation Rate increased to a new high of 77.2% in 2008-09, 5.8 percentage
  • points (8.1%) above 2007-08. 
  • The Florida Graduation Rate, the rate historically reported by the FLDOE, was 80.6% in the 2008-09 school-year, 6.2 percentage points (8.3%) above 2007-08. 
  • The Federal Uniform Graduation Rate is not calculated by the FLDOE at the present time.  

 Graduation Rate - NGA vs. Florida

NGA Graduation Rates by Race/Ethnicity

All racial/ethnic groups achieved year-to-year gains in NGA graduation rates in 2008-09. The graduation rate for non-Hispanic black students was 60.5%, an increase of 13.3% and 38.4%, respectively, over 2007-08 and 2006-07, the best improvement of all racial/ethnic groups. In comparison, the graduation rates for white non-Hispanic and Hispanic students were 82.8% and 64.8%, respectively, in 2008-09.  

Graduation Rate by Race - NGA Rate 

The historical Florida graduation rate, which includes GED’s, is shown below:

 Graduation Rate by Race - Florida Rate

A comparison of the NGA graduation rate to the Florida rate by race/ethnicity is shown in the following table:

Pinellas County Graduation Rate: 2008-09
  Graduation Rate (%) NGA Above/(Below) Florida
Race/Ethnicity Florida NGA Percentage Points Percent
White Non-Hispanic 86.2 82.8 -3.4 -3.9%
Black Non-Hispanic 63.4 60.5 -2.9 -4.6%
Hispanic 67.8 64.8 -3.0 -4.4%
Asian/Pacific Islander 86.7 84.3 -2.4 -2.8%
American Indian/Alaskan Native 72.7 63.6 -9.1 -12.5%
Multiracial 74.8 71.3 -3.5 -4.7%
Total 80.6 77.2 -3.4 -4.2%

The improvement in Pinellas’ NGA graduation rate during the last two years far exceeded the state average and other similarly sized counties. 

  Graduation Rate by County - NGA Rate    

Pinellas County High School NGA Graduate Profile

The following chart breaks down Pinellas County’s adjusted 9th grade student cohort into those graduating within four-years (standard and special diplomas only), non-graduates and dropouts. According to the NGA methodology, students receiving GED’s are considered non-graduates and students receiving an adult education GED diploma are removed from both the original 9th grade cohort and the number of graduates.

 School - Graduation Rate - NGA Profile 

Read More About It:

Florida Public High School Graduation Rates 2008-2009

Graduating America: Meeting the Challenge of Low Graduation Rate High Schools

You can download the study from the link below (see bottom of page):

States on Track to Report NGA Graduation Rate Data by 2012, National Governors Association

Implementing Graduation Counts: State Progress to Date, 2008, National Governors Association.

A Uniform, Comparable Graduation Rate, U.S. Department of Education.