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Mississippi's minority high school students are graduating a

Mississippi's minority high school students are graduating at higher rates
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Graduates of Jackson Public Schools

The education achievement gap between white students and black students is closing, according to a new study. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

The Condition of Education report summarizes educational progress in America. The study is conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. It shows African American students in Mississippi are scoring closer to their white counterparts. Also, more public high school students are graduating in four years.

Joel McFarland is the lead author of the report.

"We have three years of data on racial and ethnic gaps that we featured in the report and the white-Hispanic gap has been pretty steady at four percentage points over the last three years but the black-white gap has narrowed from 12 percent in 2013-2014 to 7 percentage points in 2015- 2016," said McFarland.

McFarland says the state's percentage point difference in graduation rates between minority and white students are among the lowest gaps in the nation.

Rachel Canter is the executive director of Mississippi First, a non-profit education policy group.

"Students are getting better. It's not that some students in Mississippi are doing worse and so, therefore, the gap is narrowing. We are seeing all students improve. That shows that we are making changes system-wide in our education system that are reaching all of our populations," said Canter.

The state's overall rate of public high school students graduating in four years has increased to 82 percent- just shy of the national average of 84 percent, according to the study.

The full Condition of Education report is available online at

Ashley Norwood, MPB News.