Second-grader Maria Diaz is taught by teacher Katie Toler at Coperni 3 public K-7 charter school in Colorado Springs on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (Chancey Bush/ The Gazette)

For the first time in over 10 years, Colorado's high school graduation rate has declined, according to the state Department of Education. 

The state said 81.7% of high school seniors graduated last spring. Even though more students graduated in 2021 than in 2020, the overall graduation rate declined by .2% because more students were enrolled in 2020.

However, the state's dropout rate was unchanged at 1.8%. According to a news release, 8,292 students in grades seven through 12 dropped out last school year, 169 fewer than the previous year.

"We know how tough it was for everyone last school year due to the challenges brought on by the pandemic with schools going to remote learning and others offering hybrid models," Katy Anthes, Colorado's education commissioner, said in the release. "It is a relief that the graduation rate is nearly the same as it was the previous year. With the state’s dropout rate also nearly unchanged, it is a concrete display of the dedication and determination of Colorado’s students, parents and teachers, especially during these tough times.”

Additionally, the state's four-year completion rate was 83.2%, which was .02% less than in 2020 and the first drop in over a decade. Between 2019 and 2020, the rate increased by .7%, according to statistics provided by the state. 

Graduation rates declined among four groups of students. The largest decline was among American Indian students at 2.2%.

Hispanic students had the second largest decline at 1.2%, while students of two or more races graduated .8% less than the previous year. Black students also graduated .6% less than their counterparts in 2020, according to the state's data.

The same data set found that female students were 7.7% more likely to graduate in 2021 than males, whose graduation rate was 77.9%, or .6% lower than in 2020.

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