RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia education officials say about 90 percent of students who entered high school in the fall of 2010 earned a diploma within four years. And for the first time since the state increased graduation requirements, more than half of the graduates received an Advanced Studies Diploma. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven Staples calls this a “watershed event” in Virginia’s effort to increase college and career readiness. The Department of Education says that 89.9 percent of the 94,700 students in the class of 2014 earned a diploma. That’s up from 89.1 percent the previous year and 8.6 percent in 2008. Since 2008, the dropout rate has declined from 8.7 percent to 5.4 percent. Graduation requirements were increased as part of the Standards of Learning reform.