Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Study: U.S. states mislead public with faulty graduation rates :: CNN

The majority of states -- 36 of them -- say 80 percent to 97 percent of their high school students graduate on time, according to state figures provided to the Education Department.
. . .
Even President Bush and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings have said this year that only 68 of every 100 ninth-graders will graduate on time. Yet only 11 states put their graduation rate somewhere in the 60 percent or 70 percent range, the new report finds.
Nobody likes to look truth in the eye.

In a hopeful sign, most of the nation's governors have recently agreed to use a common formula. It remains to be seen if the agreement is respected.

The formula for graduation rates divides the number of a state's graduates in a particular year by the number of students entering the ninth grade for the first time four years before, plus the difference between the number of students who transfer in and out over the same four years.
. . .
For now, the nation's most populous states, California, Texas and Florida, as well as Maryland and Wyoming, have not agreed to adopt the new formula.
. . .
Alluding to what many governors said needs to come next, a universal definition for dropout rates, Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, a Democrat, said state calculations were so incomplete that they often led to "vast disparities," even within a state.


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