In New Jersey, nearly 89 percent of students graduated high school in 2014, according to a new report released last week.

The graduation rate in the Garden State was well above the national rate of 82 percent. New Jersey ranked the third-highest in the country, behind Iowa, with a graduation rate of 91 percent, and Nebraska, at 90 percent.

The graduation statistics were released in the Diplomas Count report, a product of Editorial Projects in Education, the non-profit group that publishes Education Week.

Officials noted that the national rate is the highest ever.

“Graduation rates have steadily improved during the past decade, a period where the federal government, states, advocates and many others brought heightened attention to the state of the nation’s high schools,” said Christopher B. Swanson, vice president of Editorial Projects in Education.

Critical gaps still remain, especially between “the educational haves and have-nots,” he noted.

“But the overall picture is one of progress,” Swanson said.

New Jersey’s 2014 graduation rate was a full percentage point higher than the previous year’s, and three percentage points higher than in 2011, when the U.S. Department of Education began requiring states to calculate and report graduation rates using a specific method that tracks each class, according to a published report.

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