DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Tougher graduation requirements for Michigan’s high school class of 2011 did not result in a sharp rise in the number of dropouts, but there was a slight decline in graduation rates.

Some had predicted the class would struggle because it was the first to come under mandatory, tougher statewide graduation requirements that include more math, science and other courses than previously mandated. But the dire predictions didn’t come true, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press.

The state’s Center for Educational Performance and Information said the Class of 2011’s dropout rate was 11.13 percent, up from 11.07 percent for the Class of 2010.

The on-time graduation rate was 74.33 percent for the Class of 2011, down from 75.95 percent in 2010.

“Michigan has been able to raise expectations of rigor in high school without resulting in the increase in dropouts predicted by the skeptics,” Jan Ellis, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Education, told the Free Press.

Wendy Zdeb-Roper, executive director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, said the report was encouraging.

“Once students know where the bar is set, all research indicates, they will reach to that level that’s set for them,” she said.

Some school districts put more emphasis and resources into dropout prevention programs as the tougher graduation standards were implemented.

Results also vary widely by school district, as they often do in Michigan.

The graduation rate for Detroit Public Schools dropped 3 percentage points to 59.74 percent. The district’s dropout rate increased nearly a percentage point to 20 percent.

“The newest rate as well as the previous one should be considered unacceptable to our educational leaders in this city, as should the number of students who graduate but do so without college-readiness,” Roy Roberts, the district’s state-appointed emergency manager, said in a statement.

To see the graduation rates in your district, visit the Center for Educational Performance and Information website.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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