- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Tougher graduation requirements may be behind a sharp increase in the dropout rate in the Oklahoma City school district, officials said.

Last school year, 762 students in seventh through 12th grades dropped out, compared with 358 dropouts the previous year, according to a report scheduled to be presented Tuesday to Oklahoma City school board members.

“I think it has a lot to do with students who haven’t passed their end-of-school exams,” said George Kimball, the district’s chief information officer. “If they have tried multiple times, there is some discouragement and they may say, ‘Why am I continuing to try?’”

Under the new requirements, students must pass four of seven tests before they are awarded diplomas. Previously, students were allowed to graduate even if they didn’t pass the end-of-instruction exams.

The Oklahoman reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1aHXp0L ) that the district recorded 705 dropouts during the 2006-2007 school year, and had been seeing a steady decline since then. About 46,000 students attend Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Emerson, an alternative school, had the highest number of high-school dropouts at 164, followed by the U.S. Grant and Capitol Hill, according to the new numbers. Taft had the highest number of middle school dropouts at 42, followed by Jefferson and Jackson middle schools.

The report said charter schools had a much lower number of dropouts, with 98 dropouts among 10 schools listed by the district.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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