The latest Condition of Education report from the Iowa Department of Education says Iowa has the best high school graduation rate in the country.
“The four-year cohort graduation rate for the class of 2012 was 89.3 percent,” according to Brad Buck, Director of the Iowa Department of Education.
That means 89.3 percent of students who started ninth grade at the same time graduated from an Iowa high school four years later.
By comparison, the Illinois cohort graduation rate for the same period was 82 percent.
The report attributes drops in reading and mathematics performance for fourth- and eighth-graders from 2011 to 2013 to changes in the Iowa Assessment forms. Those forms changed for 11th-graders as well, but the report shows their proficiency increased during that same time.
Fourth- and eighth-graders’ national assessment results were similar to prior years.
Sixty-six percent of students in the class of 2013 took the ACT, compared to the national average of 54 percent. ACT confirms that result, and that Iowa’s average ACT composite score on the test was second among states that use the ACT as the primary college entrance exam, at 22.1. The 2013 national average composite score on the ACT was 20.9.
Illinois students had a 2013 ACT composite average of 20.6. Although Iowa’s ACT composite score was higher than Illinois’ for 2013 graduates, the Illinois results report was for 100 percent versus Iowa’s 66 percent of the state’s students in the class of 2013. Illinois is one of eight states which required all public high school juniors to take the ACT in 2012.
Iowa ranks 25th in the U.S. for teacher pay, but the report says the average teacher’s salary for the 2012-2013 year was a little more than $52,600. For comparison, the National Education Association reports the average salary for teachers in Illinois was just over $64,000, ranking Illinois teachers as the sixth-highest-paid in the U.S.