- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia education officials say the state’s high school graduation rate has risen to nearly 90 percent.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Martirano says the 2015-16 rate is up from 86.5 percent a year earlier and 84.5 percent before that.

A five-year strategic plan released two years ago called for improving the graduation rate annually and reaching 90 percent for all West Virginia students by 2020.

The rate reported Tuesday is nearly there at 89.81 percent.

Martirano credits statewide initiatives, especially tracking 45 indicators to identify students at risk of dropping out, including attendance, behavior and grades.

He says graduates typically earn more lifelong and are less likely to be jailed or get involved with illegal drugs.

Federal data show the national graduation rate rose to 83.2 percent for 2014-15.

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