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The achievement gap is getting wider in WashingtonState.

In figures released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), White and Asian students continue to out perform students in other groups, and by larger margins.

In addition to figures for standard ethnic identifiers, the DOE report includes graduation rates for students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency and economically disadvantaged students. Additionally, some states break down rates within the Asian/Pacific Islander category to separate figures for Asian students from Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander backgrounds.

The figures represent graduation rates for the 2010-2011 school year, the first year in which states were required to use a common measurement. The DOE said the methods previously used by states varied to the degree that comparisons between states was unreliable.

According to the DOE, Washington state had an overall graduation rate off 76 percent. Asians lead all student groups with a graduation rate of 81 percent; Native Americans had the lowest rate among ethnic groups at 57 percent. Students with limited English proficiency showed the lowest performance with a 51 percent gradation rate.

Determining a true and accurate graduation rate can be very confusing. In a report issued by the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction last March, four different graduation rates were identified ranging from 81 percent to 75 percent.

Officials hope the common measure of graduation and dropout rates will encourage states to be more honest in holding schools more accountable for student achievement.

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