- Associated Press - Thursday, September 1, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on high school graduation rates in North Carolina (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Figures from the state Department of Public Instruction show North Carolina students recorded slight gains in their math and reading proficiency and readiness for college careers.

Statistics released Thursday indicated end-of-grade performance in both reading and mathematics showed 35.4 percent of students as proficient in the two subjects, up from 33.8 percent in the previous school year. For math only, the figures jumped from 44.1 percent to 47 percent, while the increase in reading was more modest, rising from 45.1 percent in 2014-15 to 45.8 percent last school year.

End-of-grade performance results in reading and math also showed gains in grade-level proficiency. Reading and math rose from 43.5 percent in 2014-15 to 45 percent last school year. Math only rose to 54.7 percent from 52.2 percent, and reading only gained just 0.6 percentage points to 56.5 percent.

11:55 a.m.

Education leaders in North Carolina say four-year high school graduation rates edged higher in 2016, marking the 11th consecutive year of gains.

A report released Thursday by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction shows the four-year rate of 85.8 percent for the previous school year was up 0.2 percentage points from the 2015 report.

The report also showed that the four-year graduation rate among all groups exceeded 80 percent for the first time. Students from low-income families registered an 80.6 percent graduation rate, while the rate for black students increased by 0.7 percentage points to 82.9 percent. Among Hispanics, the increase was 0.1 percentage points to 80.1percent.

State Superintendent June Atkinson says the numbers show that students are putting themselves in better position for college and careers.

5 a.m.

North Carolina students, parents and taxpayers are getting the broad, annual update on how the state’s public schools are performing.

The yearly accountability results are to be presented to the State Board of Education on Thursday. The data being released show how well entire schools performed in the academic year that ended in May and how students have done in staying on course to graduate ready for a career or college.

The figures come four years after the state school board raised learning standards to correspond to real-world needs.

Results last year showed about 85 percent of students who entered high school finished in four years, a graduation rate school officials praised as the highest in state history.

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