Every ninth-grader in Portland Public Schools would complete high school or its equivalent by the 2017-18 school year under new targets approved this week by the school board.
Only 79 percent of Portland students currently complete high school in five years or less, according to data for students who were supposed to graduate in 2011. That puts Portland in the bottom one-third of the state for five-year high school completion.
Only 22 districts – the top 12 percent statewide – currently have a perfect five-year completion rate. All of those school systems had fewer than 35 students per grade, whereas Portland had about 4,000 students who should have completed school by 2011.
Joseph Suggs, the district's director of research, evaluation and assessment, said Portland’s intent was to create a goal that lay somewhere between "super aspirational" and "something in the realm of being do-able."