NEW YORK - The state Department of Education has released graduation rates for the class of 2012, the first class of students that had to pass five Regents exams in order to earn a Regents diploma.

On a state level, education officials say the high school graduation rate held steady at 74 percent. In New York City, graduation rates dropped to 60.4 percent, down from 60.9 percent in 2011.

State education officials acknowledged that more needs to be done to get students ready for college.

Critics of the statewide exams say that teachers are so focused on getting students to pass the tests, that it limits their creativity in the classroom.