Articles tagged with Graduation Rates

School board success story: Improving graduation rates in Montana

Missoula County School Board Chair Toni Rehbein and Superintendent Alex Apostle.

Missoula County School Board Chair Toni Rehbein and Superintendent Alex Apostle.

January’s American School Board Journal (ASBJ) features the success story of the Missoula County Public School Board of Trustees’s goal of having 100 percent  of its students finish high school.

Examine how a superintendent, school board, and community leaders  in Missoula, Mont. banded together to identify the scope of the problem, develop strategies to improve the graduation rate, and then implemented a program that’s making a difference in student lives—and has inspired the Montana state government to start a similar program of its own.

This is a new feature for 2013 in  ASBJ  and each month an innovative school board success story will be profiled.

Alexis Rice|January 31st, 2013|Categories: Governance, High Schools, Board governance, Student Achievement, Leadership, Student Engagement, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , |

CPE names “10 Good Things About Public Education”

Can you name 10 good things about public education?

Patte Barth, director of NSBA’s Center for Public Education, recently wrote about the many successes in public education for American School Board Journal, and she also gave her suggestions for ways schools can improve.

For instance, she notes, fourth-graders have improved their reading skills by six points on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) over the past decade.

“If that doesn’t sound like much, consider that 10 points on the NAEP scale is approximately one year’s worth of learning,” Barth writes. “More significantly, the gains have largely been from the bottom up, and the achievement gap is narrowing between children of color and their white classmates.”

In high school, more students are taking higher-level courses, and schools are becoming better at addressing the needs of students at risk of dropping out, thus increasing their graduation rates. But there are still some 3,000 high schools that lack the capacity to offer Algebra II, and policymakers and the public must ensure that all students have access to higher-level courses and the supports they need to be prepared for college or the workforce, Barth says.

And polls show that local communities continue to support their local schools even as the public opinion of public education has declined.

The list includes:

1. Community support

2. Mathematics

3. High school graduation rates

4. High-quality prekindergarten

5. High-level high school courses

6. ESEA and IDEA: Monumental laws

7. English language learners

8. Civics

9. Beginning reading

10. A tradition of universal education

Barth’s column also was recently featured in Education Week’sK-12 Parents and the Public” blog.




Joetta Sack-Min|July 17th, 2012|Categories: Curriculum, High Schools, Center for Public Education, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Data Driven Decision Making, Mathematics Education, Student Achievement, Assessment, 21st Century Skills, American School Board Journal, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Late graduates to be counted

Note: This entry was orignially posted on National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Center for Public Education’s blog The Edifier.

It took awhile but states will finally be able to count those students who take longer than four years to earn a high school diploma (late graduates) as graduates through a common graduation rate formula that all states must use starting this summer. NSBA has been fighting for this change ever since the Center released its Better Late Than Never: Examining late high school graduates report over two and half years ago which showed that late graduate’s were more successful after high school in terms of earning a college degree, finding a good job, civic engagement and living healthier than those students who earned a GED or never earned a high school credential. As a matter for fact, late graduates’ postsecondary outcomes outcomes did not differ much from those students who graduated on-time. So there was little reason why late graduates shouldn’t have been counted as graduates.

The adoption of the common rate enables states to report an extended-year rate which would include late graduates that are currently not counted in most state gradation rates. In a press release announcing the common rate the U.S. Department of Education declared:

States may also opt to use an extended-year adjusted cohort, allowing states, districts and schools to account for students who complete high school in more than four years.

Moreover, in the release Secretary Arne Duncan stated that a common rate “…will also encourage states to account for students who need more than four years to earn a diploma.”

This is a major step forward in giving districts credit where credit is due by counting all students who earn a standard high school diploma as graduates not just those who earn a diploma in four years. However, how districts get credit, if any, for their late graduates under Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) / No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and most state accountability systems is still unclear. Hopefully Congress will reauthorize ESEA soon and put into law that indeed late graduates are graduates even for accountability sake.

Jim Hull|July 29th, 2011|Categories: High Schools, Center for Public Education, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Student Achievement, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Reports|Tags: , , , , , , |

Do high schools need to be held accountable for their graduation rates?

Although accountability for math and reading achievement garner most of the attention when it comes to No Child Left Behind (NCLB), graduation rates are also included in determining whether high schools make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). This morning the folks over at The Education Trust shed a brighter light on this issue with the release of their latest report called Graduation Matters: Improving accountability for high school graduation. The report focuses on what they feel are two major shortcomings of NCLB’s current graduation rate accountability provisions. The Education Trust claims:

1. State goals for raising graduation rates are far too low to spur needed improvement.
2. Gaps between student groups are allowed to persist by an accountability system that looks only at average graduation rates.

The report calls for stronger accountability when it comes to high schools graduating their students. So to strengthen graduation-rate accountability they recommend states:

1. Calculate an accurate graduation rate based on the percent of first-time ninth graders who earn a standard diploma four years later. (aka the NGA Compact caclulation)
2. Use this information when holding schools accountable for making progress.
3. Set ambitious goals and aggressive improvement targets for meeting those goals.
4. Hold schools accountable for improving the graduation rates of all groups of students.

BoardBuzz applauds The Education Trust for highlighting the importance of graduating more of our students. But it will take more than just a new calculation to do so, although it is an important first step. BoardBuzz learned from our own Center for Public Education’s Keeping Kids in School: Lessons from research about preventing dropouts that the keys to keeping kids in school through graduation are to:

1. Identify students at-risk of dropping out before they reach high school.
2. Provide ongoing interventions.
3. Provide prevention programs once students enter high school.
4. Provide recovery programs for those students who slip through the cracks.

Although an accurate graduation rate is important in identifying which students are graduating and which students aren’t, no formula or accountability system will get more students to complete high school and walk across that stage to receive their diploma unless schools are given the tools they need to help those students at-risk of dropping out.

For more information about dropout prevention and graduation rates visit our friends at the Center for Public Education.

Erin Walsh|August 1st, 2007|Categories: Elementary and Secondary Education Act, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|Tags: , , |
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