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DENVER - Colorado's graduation rate failed to improve last year after four years of consecutive growth, while the dropout rate grew slightly for the first time in nearly a decade.

The

Denver Post reports that state data released Thursday shows public schools statewide graduated 77.3 percent of students in the spring of 2015. That was the same rate as the previous year.

The state's 2015 dropout rate increased for the first time since 2006. The slight growth to 2.5 percent meant public schools saw 568 more students drop out in the 2014-15 school year than the previous year.

The Colorado Department of Education's director of dropout prevention, Judith Martinez, says the department will further examine the data in coming weeks to see what might have caused the increase.

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