Kentucky is still two years away from being able to calculate its first, high quality high school graduation rates; however, most other states are reporting high quality rates for the first time this year.
And, there is a lot of ‘sticker shock’ out there.
Education Week reports that more accurate reports in some states like Oregon and Alabama show the true high school graduation rates are 20 points or more lower than those previously reported.
I actually don’t see Kentucky winding up in a similar position in 2014, when we finally get our first high-accuracy graduation rate data. While Kentuckians currently only get an approximate, estimated graduation rate, the formula the Kentucky Department of Education is now forced to use by the US Department of Education is a pretty good calculation, especially at the statewide level.
Kentucky already got its graduation rate sticker shock last year, when the federally mandated (to keep getting federal money) Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate formula came into use.
According to the NCLB_AFGR.xls spreadsheet for 2008 to 2010 from the Kentucky Department of Education, under the new formula, the 2008 No Child Left Behind compliant statewide high school graduation rate in Kentucky for all students (Total) was only 74.99 percent. For blacks it was only 66.80 percent.
In notable contrast, using the former, inflated formula that has now become thoroughly discredited, the Kentucky Department of Education’s Non-Academic Data Report for 2009 claimed the 2008 statewide graduation rate was 84.52 percent, nearly 10 points higher.
In a fine example of why the federal government is intruding into our state’s education business, the separate graduation rate for blacks wasn’t even released under the old reporting system.
One of the things that irks me about the current situation is that state education agencies are kind of playing dumb – as though they have not been warned for some time that their old graduation rate reports were not credible. Click the “Read more” link to learn more about that.
So, educators don’t get a ‘by’ on this one. They should have fixed the graduation and dropout rate reporting deficiencies years ago.