State education officials say improvements by Hispanic, low-income and non-native English speaking students helped drive up Massachusetts' public high school graduation rate for the seventh consecutive year.  

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced Monday that 85 percent of students who entered as ninth-graders in 2009-10, or entered that class at any point, graduated within four years. 

The state's annual dropout rate also fell to 2.2 percent in the 2012-13 academic year, the fifth consecutive year below 3 percent and lowest rate in more than three decades. 

The graduation rates of black and Asian students also improved, but students with disabilities graduation rates fell slightly. 

Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester says identifying students at risk of failing to graduate earlier and getting them help has helped boost graduation rates.  (Associated Press)

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