Through analyzing data from about 700,000 students in the state's public high schools, the Michigan Consortium for Educational Research found the rate fell from about 72 percent to 70 percent for the class of 2011.
The study sites the implementation of the Michigan Merit Curriculum, which went into effect for students entering eighth grade in 2006 and graduating in 2011. Students with stronger skills performed better in science, reading and math, yet all students declined in writing scores, the study showed.
Spring Lake High School Principal Mike Gilchrist said he thought the curriculum change was a positive step for academics.
“It created a focus on core content, which is the foundation for students' success going forward,” he said.
About 99.5 percent of Spring Lake High School's Class of 2011 graduated. In 2010, 98.8 percent graduated, and 97.2 percent of the Class of 2009 graduated.
Students at Grand Haven High School didn’t have to adjust too much to the curriculum change, other than the math requirement, Principal Tracy Wilson said.
“Truthfully, as a former math teacher, the only concern was all kids getting through algebra II,” she said. “Aside from that, there was really nothing else I was concerned about.”
Grand Haven’s graduation rate was about 94 percent last year. About 91.2 percent graduated in 2010 and about 94.2 percent graduated in 2009.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.