According to a new new analysis, Bristol reported a graduation rate of 93.3 percent in 2005. But the real rate was just 69.2, according to the new study.
That's a whopping gap and, if true, a frighteningly low graduation rate. Is it possible that three in 10 Bristol students don't even graduate from high school? Wow.
I'll report later what city school officials have to say in response.
In the meantime, here's the press release accompanying the newly released information:
New Report Finds Connecticut’s High School Graduation Rates Are Overstated and Declining
Analysis Reveals Gaps as Large as 39 Points, Major Shifts in Largest Districts Over Past Decade
In June 2007, ConnCAN released its first comparison of official district graduation rates, calculated by the Connecticut State Department of Education, and independent rates, calculated by Education Week’s Research Center for its Diplomas Count project. The study was downloaded more than 2,000 times from the ConnCAN website, helping to spark a constructive dialogue across Connecticut and providing an important boost to the effort to more accurately measure Connecticut’s graduation rates.
Findings from this new June 2008 follow-up analysis by ConnCAN include:
? The overall graduation rate for Connecticut in the Diplomas Count study was 13.1 points lower than the official statewide average of 91.2 percent—the 14th largest disparity among the 50 states.
? Connecticut’s statewide graduation rate declined 1.8 points from 79.8 percent to 78.1 percent between 2004 and 2005.
? Among the three largest districts in Connecticut, the gap between the official and independent rates was 33.7 points in Hartford, 22.6 points in New Haven, and 20.5 points in Bridgeport.
? Since 1997, Bridgeport’s graduation rate, as measured in Diplomas Count, increased almost 10 points, from 44.7 to 54.2, and Hartford’s graduation rate increased more than 5 points, from 33.5 to 38.6. By contrast, New Haven’s graduation rate declined almost 10 points, from 61.9 to 52.4.
? The Diplomas Count project found that the official graduation rates overstated the percentage of students graduating in four years with a diploma in 94 percent of Connecticut districts.
? In seven districts the graduation rates were overstated by 25 or more points: West Haven (38.8 points), Hartford (33.7), Bloomfield (32.5), Manchester (29.5), Windham (26.6), Middletown (26.3) and Putnam (25.8).
A school system’s high school graduation rate is one of the most important indicators of its success. Research has demonstrated that, on average:
? High school dropouts earn just 37 cents for every dollar earned by high school graduates.
? High school dropouts live 9 years less than high school graduates.
? Every 10 percent increase in high school graduation rates is correlated with a 13 percent lower rate of auto thefts and a 20 percent lower rate of murders and assaults.
The Diplomas Count report comes on the heels of a national push to measure high school graduation rates more accurately, including the adoption of a “Compact on State High School Graduation Data” developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and endorsed by Alliance for Excellent Education, Association of American Colleges & Universities, Education Commission of the States, National Education Association, and The Education Trust. The compact, signed by the governors of all 50 states including Gov. Rell, calls for a uniform standard based on: 1) four-year adjusted cohort graduation rates, 2) longitudinal data tracking individual students from preschool through postsecondary education, and 3) straightforward annual reports on rates of graduations, completions and dropouts.
While it is not yet possible based on available Connecticut data to perform longitudinal tracking of individual students, the rates calculated by Education Week’s Research Center, drawing upon results from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data (CCD), move us closer to the goals of the NGA’s “Compact on State High School Graduation Data.”
Four-year graduation rates were calculated using the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) method. As recommended by the Compact, this approach represents graduating from high school as a four-year process from 9th through 12th grade, rather than a single event, and measures graduation based on receipt of a standard diploma rather than a GED or other equivalency degrees. Since this approach is not able to track individual students with existing data, however, one limitation is that it cannot distinguish between students who dropout and those who transfer to parochial, private or other out-of-district schools, and includes all such students in the category of “non-graduates” of the system.
Fully implementing the recommendations of the NGA will require a new state data system that uses unique student identifiers to track the movement of students between schools and districts within Connecticut, as recommended in ConnCAN’s “Great Schools for All” plan. In 2007, $6.4 million over two years was included in the state education budget to support the creation of a state longitudinal data system and the State Department of Education is currently working to develop this new system.
“Graduation rates are too important an indicator of educational success to not have the most accurate data possible,” said Alex Johnston, executive director of ConnCAN. “This new study adds to the urgency to create and fully implement a comprehensive and publicly-accessible system for tracking the progress of every public school student in our state.”
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The Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) is a statewide outreach, education, and research organization working to close Connecticut’s achievement gap. To learn more visit: www.conncan.org.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org