High school grad calculator changes

Posted by Justine Moore on

Get ready for graduation rates to drop this year, but don’t blame your high school.

Instead, blame the new way Ohio, Kentucky and most other states will be calculating those rates for federal and state rating.

A change in federal law in 2008 gave states until this year to begin reporting an official, four-year graduation rate.

Until now, states could decide on their own which students to include in their graduation rates. Many, such as Ohio and Kentucky, included students who took longer than four years to graduate.

The new, four-year time limit for graduation rates means Ohio’s report cards will have lower “official” graduation rates this year. Kentucky’s report cards changed last year.

The new rate is supposed to make schools more accountable for students, including dropouts, and to standardize graduation rates across states.

But it’s turning up the heat on schools to graduate more students on time, and it’s causing some to question whether it’s fair to schools that target at-risk students.

“Graduation rates alone are not a good measure for success in schools whose mission is to attract and work with at-risk students,” said Professor Mike Flicke, chairman of Xavier University’s secondary and special education department.

“The hope is that more children are graduating with the basic skills needed and that the statewide total, overall graduation rate increases.”

Districts have remade high schools in recent years to better identify and serve students who are at risk of not graduating on time.

“The old high school is changing,”

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