Virginia graduation rates: 88 percent of students graduated in 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia education officials say 88 percent of students in the class of 2012 graduated after four years of high school.

The Virginia Department of Education said Tuesday that the on-time graduation rate for public high school students who were first-time ninth-graders in 2008 rose more than a percentage point from the previous year's class.

On-time graduation has increased more than 7 percent since the agency first reported rates in 2008.

Of the 97,023 students who began high school in 2008, the dropout rate was 6.5 percent, down from 7.2 percent in the previous year's class. That rate has fallen by more than 25 percent in the last five years.

High schools have had to meet annual graduation and completion benchmarks to earn full state accreditation since the 2010-11 academic year.