New figures released by the Alabama Department of Education show an increase in the state’s High School graduation rate. The rate for the class of 2014 is at 86 percent. State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice says that figure is up from 80 percent the prior year, and it puts the state ahead of schedule in meeting its goal of having a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020. Bice says the increase of six percentage points means about 3,600 more students graduated than in the prior year. He attributes it to schools using new, innovative ways to help students learn and having more flexibility in how they do that. Alabama's graduation rate was 72 percent in 2011.