Highline Public Schools' on-time graduation rate has hovered in the low to mid-60s since the state started using a stricter method of how to count on-time graduates, beginning with the Class of 2010.

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For the first time in five years, Highline Public Schools has posted a graduation rate that cleared 70 percent, climbing 7.4 percentage points in just the past school year.

Superintendent Susan Enfield noted the improvement in her “state of the schools” speech on Monday.

Highline’s 70.3 percent rate for the class of 2015 is still lower than the  statewide  average for the class of 2014, which was about 77 percent. (The state doesn’t yet have all the data to calculate the statewide average for the class 2015.)

But it was Highline’s biggest one-year jump since the state changed how it calculates the number of students who graduate in four years.

The last time Highline reported a graduation rate higher than 70 percent was for the Class of 2009. That figure — 72 percent — was an estimate based on dropout data from a single year.

The next year, under federal mandate, Washington State began using a stricter method  that requires them to track the progress of each entering ninth-grade class, following them from their first year in high school through 12th grade.

Using that methodology, Highline’s Class of 2010 had a 61.2 percent on-time graduation rate.

That percentage has hovered in the low to mid 60s every year since until the Class of 2015.

This is the time of year when district report graduation data to the state.

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