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Saturday, 19th April 2008

Every Student Counts: The Case for Graduation Rate Accountability

Every Student Counts: The Case for Graduation Rate Accountability (PDF; 308 KB)
Source: Alliance for Excellent Education
From press release:

In its new brief, Every Student Counts: The Case for Graduation Rate Accountability, the Alliance for Excellent Education argues that the way graduation rates are measured and reported seriously undermines effective high school reform, and identifies four policy recommendations for meaningful improvement.

Graduation rate calculations vary widely from state to state, resulting in measurements that are not comparable and not always reliable. Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act has not addressed these discrepancies and the U.S. Department of Education has not required schools to appreciably increase the numbers of students they are graduating over time—undermining graduation rates as a tool for genuine reform. For example, schools are allowed to set low graduation rate expectations to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals; meet AYP by demonstrating statistically insignificant progress; and report overall graduation rates as opposed to rates within sub-groups, which tell a more complete story.

Every Student Counts: The Case for Graduation Rate Accountability urges policymakers to take action in four areas to make graduation rates an effective measure of how well high schools are educating all of their students:

  • Implement consistent and accurate calculations of graduation rates to ensure comparability and transparency.
  • Require aggressive, attainable, and uniform annual growth requirements as part of AYP to ensure a minimum, consistent increase in graduation rates.
  • Give equal weight to graduation rates and required assessments in determining AYP, so that schools have balanced incentives to ensure that their students graduate and to raise their test scores, instead of doing one at the expense of the other.
  • Require disaggregation for the reporting and accountability of graduation rates to ensure that school improvement activities focus on all students and close achievement gaps.



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