Metro school districts show drop in 2022 graduation rates
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The graduation rate for Albuquerque Public Schools was just above 69% for 2022 – quite the drop from 2021’s 75% graduation rate.
APS Superintendent Scott Elder says they saw this drop coming during the pandemic.
“I don’t think it was a surprise that you see that reflected in that year’s graduation data,” Elder said. “You might see that for a couple years because kids fell a bit behind and credits were hard to make up.”
While students have been back in the classroom for the last two years, these graduation rates are from two school years ago. However, the downward trend is not a statewide phenomenon.
In Farmington, they saw an increase in graduations – going up nearly 4% from 2021. Roswell had a nearly 3% increase, and Las Cruces had a less than half percent increase.
Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Los Lunas saw some of the biggest drops in the state. So why did the metro area take the hardest hit?
“I think it was exaggerated in the urban settings,” Elder said. “You think about small rural settings and they had 12 or 25 graduates, it’s not as difficult to reach out to that number and try and catch them up as it is with some larger classes.”
Knowing this would be an issue, APS has also put some new safety nets in place to try and get back to where they were.
“We added online tutoring beginning last year and this year and it has been a really nice tool for our teachers,” Elder said. “We are continuing to work with families to make them aware of where their students are behind. We offered summer school for students to make up their credits and we used funds to fund that so kids didn’t have a financial burden as they try to catch up.”
But even with all of those programs, Elder doesn’t think we will see an increase in graduation rates in 2023.
“I’m hopeful we will see a trend back up, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it stayed flat because these were students who were really impacted by the pandemic,” he said.
This year the state Legislature also extended the school year for all New Mexico students. Elder says while he thinks the longer year will be good in the long run, we won’t see those benefits next year either.
To see the graduation results in full, click here.