North Carolina education leaders say nearly 72 percent of the state's public schools met or exceeded growth targets during the 2006-2007 school year.
But more than 30 percent of ninth graders still aren't graduating within four years.
The 2006-2007 ABC's of Public Education Accountability Report shows the number of schools meeting state expectations increased by 17.5 percent from one year ago.
However, just 45 percent of schools met the federal No Child Left Behind targets.
State Schools Superintendent June Atkinson says 69.4 percent of ninth graders are graduating within four years. That's a slight increase from last year's 68.3 percent.