ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Education says the graduation rate for Minnesota high school students is the highest it's been in a decade.

According to new data released Wednesday, about 79 percent of Minnesota students graduated in 2013, up from 75 percent in 2010. Last year, black and Hispanic students had the biggest year-to-year increase, although they still lag behind white students.

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius says while more work needs to be done, the new graduation rates suggest the state will be able to meet its goal of cutting the achievement gap between white and minority students in half by 2017.

Reports say Cassellius attributes the statewide improvement to a couple of factors, including Minnesota's waiver from No Child Left Behind which was granted in early 2012.