The Virginia Department of Education says more than 81 percent of the students in the class of 2008 received a diploma after four years of high school.
This marks the first time Virginia has tracked individual students from year to year to get a precise on-time graduation
rate. The state previously used a less accurate method of estimating the rate.
Board of Education President Mark Emblidge said Wednesday that the new figures are gratifying, but more still should be done to raise graduation rates.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright noted that thousands of students who entered ninth grade in 2004 are still working toward their diploma.
Locally, four districts are above the state rate and four are below. The ones higher than the state are Augusta County, Highland County, Rockingham County and Shenandoah County. The ones below are Harrisonburg, Page County, Staunton and Waynesboro.