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Corvallis High School freshmen, from left, Zachary Montagne, Ruby Krebs, Hope Turner and Amanda Lundin work on a skit during their "Introduction to Literature" class on Wednesday. More than 95 percent of freshmen at the school were on track to graduate following the 2016-17 school year, according to data released by the Oregon Department of Education Thursday.

Andy Cripe, Gazette-Times

Benton County school districts generally outperformed districts with similar demographics on key performance measures such as graduation rates, rates of freshmen on track to graduate and rates of students going to college, according to district report cards released by the Oregon Department of Education Thursday.

The data also included report cards for individual schools with similar data.

The reports compile a lot of data already available, but add the dimension of comparing schools and districts to schools and districts with similar demographics, such as the rate of students learning English, economically disadvantaged students and students who are part of an underserved racial or ethnic group.

The Corvallis School District performed better than comparable peers on measures including its four-year graduation rate, its five-year high school completion rate, its rate of freshmen on track to graduate, its dropout rate and its rate of students going to college.

Ryan Noss, Corvallis superintendent, said the district finds the like-schools comparison more useful than comparisons to state averages because it accounts for varying demographics in districts.

The area in which the Corvallis district held the biggest edge over similar districts was in the rate of students going to college after completing high school: after the 2015-16 school year, more than 75 percent of Corvallis graduates started at a community college or four-year college within 16 months of graduating. The number in similar districts was just under 60 percent of graduates.

The district also had a high rate of freshmen on track to graduate: over 91 percent were rated on track in the 2016-17 school year, while in similar districts the rate was 86 percent. Freshmen are considered on-track if they earn at least 25 percent of the credits necessary for a diploma.

Noss said the rate of students on track to graduation was one of his takeaways in the data, and he’s pleased that the district has shown continuous growth in the rate in recent years.

“It’s a good indicator of future success,” he said.

At Corvallis High School, more than 95 percent of freshmen met this measure, continuing a trend of growth in that area. Corvallis High's comparison schools posted an 88 percent mark.

Crescent Valley High School’s rate of 87 percent of students on track for graduation trailed the 92 percent average at its comparison schools.

Philomath School District also outperformed its peers on key measures across the board.

Like Corvallis, and all of Benton County, the rate of students going onto higher education after graduating from Philomath was better than its peers. The 72 percent of Philomath graduates who went to college after the 2015-16 school year was better than the 54 percent in its comparison districts.

Philomath’s rate of freshmen on track to graduate in 2016-17 was about 94 percent, while in its peer districts the rate was about 84 percent.

Monroe School District also generally compared well to its peer districts, except for its five-year high school completion rate, which at 83 percent in 2015-16 was 2 points lower than its comparison districts.

Monroe’s rate of 52 percent of graduates enrolling in college after 2015-16 was lower than the state average of 57 percent, but it was ahead of its comparison districts, where less than 50 percent of students enrolled in college.

The 88 percent of Monroe freshmen on track to graduate in 2016-17 was also better than the rate of 82 percent in its comparison districts.

Alsea School District’s graduation rate of 50 percent in 2015-16 was 22 points lower than its comparison districts. However, its 73 percent five-year completion rate in the same time frame was about a percent better than its peers.

Alsea’s dropout rate of more than 7 percent was about a percent higher than its peers.

Alsea’s rate of 90 percent of its freshmen being on track to graduate in 2016-17 was better than the 87 percent in its comparison districts.

Anthony Rimel covers education and can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.

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