ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York's high school graduation rate continued its slight upward trend last June, marking the fourth consecutive year it has increased.
About 79.4 percent of students who entered ninth grade in 2012 graduated by June 2016, according to data released Friday by the state Education Department.
That was up from the 78.1 percent of students who graduated within four years in June 2015.
“While the upward trend in New York State’s graduation rates continues, there is still much work to do," state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said in a statement.
The state's graduation rate has ticked up in each of the past four years, steadily increasing from 74.9 percent in 2013 after remaining flat at 74 percent in 2011 and 2012.
A major gap remains, however, among racial and ethnic groups.
Last June, 88.3 percent of white students graduating on time, according to the data. That's compared to 67.7 percent of black and 67.6 percent of Hispanic students.
The rate also varied widely among the state's largest school districts.
In Buffalo, 61.7 percent graduated on time, up 3.3 percentage points.
The Rochester school district continued to lag well behind the statewide average, with just 47.5 percent of students graduating on time last June, a 2 percentage-point jump from the previous year.
Yonkers, meanwhile, is nearing the statewide average.
In New York City, 69.4 percent graduated last June, up from 67.2 percent in 2015.
The data released by the State Education Department breaks down the graduation rate for every single school district in the state, including nearly 100 in Western New York.
USA Today Network Albany Bureau