New State Calculations to Lower Graduation Rates for Missouri School Districts

Judy Hartnett's picture
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released high school graduation rates calculated using a new method.

With the change in the way the rate is calculated, most districts in the state have a much lower rate than in the past.

"The U.S. Department of Education is requiring (states) to report the new four-year rate so we can compare how Missouri is doing to our neighbors in Kansas and Illinois," said Leigh Ann Grant-Engle, assistant commissioner for the Office of Data System Management. "It's another way to help us look at students and see if there's anything we need to do to provide them to help them graduate in four years."

States are required to report graduation rate data to the U.S. Department of Education under the No Child Left Behind legislation, but in the past, states calculated the rates using different methods.

Now, the U.S. Department of Education is requiring all states to report the "four-year graduation rate" which measures the percent of students who complete high school in four years.

Students who take longer to graduate or complete a GED aren't counted with their cohort group, and so the district doesn't "get credit" for them.

Currently, Missouri calculates the graduation rate by dividing the number of students who graduated in a given year by the number of graduates plus any dropouts from that class. So this rate would include students who took more than four years to graduate from high school.

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