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IMPLEMENTING GRADUATION COUNTS: NGA Report Finds Forty-Eight States on Track to Use a Common Formula to Report High School Graduation Rates for Class of 2011

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“Governors agreed to use a more consistent and accurate graduation rate formula because they understand that better information on student outcomes is critical for ensuring that all students graduate from high school prepared for college, work, and life.”

Forty-eight states are on track to report high school graduation rates for the Class of 2011 using a common formula, according to a recent report from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center). In 2005, governors of all fifty states signed the National Governors Association Graduation Counts Compact to implement a common graduation rate formula, commit to building state data collections and reporting capacities, develop additional student outcome indicators, and report annual progress about graduation and dropout rates.

“Governors agreed to use a more consistent and accurate graduation rate formula because they understand that better information on student outcomes is critical for ensuring that all students graduate from high school prepared for college, work, and life,” said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center. “The 2010 update shows that states are making significant progress toward this end and are expected to continue to do so in 2011.”

The report, Implementing Graduation Counts: State Progress to Date, 2010, is the latest annual report tracking states’ progress toward meeting the goals of the NGA Compact and the graduation requirements set forth under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). A 2008 regulation to NCLB from the U.S. Department of Education mandated that all states implement a four-year adjusted graduation rate that can be broken down by grade level and demographics at the state, district, and high school levels by the 2010–11 school year. NCLB also requires that states use the rate to calculate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) following the 2011–12 school year.

According to the report, twenty-six states currently report a high school graduation rate using the formula agreed upon in the NGA Compact. By the end of 2011, nineteen additional states plan to report their graduation rates using the formula, bringing the total to forty-five. In 2012, three additional states plan to report graduation rates for the Class of 2011, which still meets the U.S. Department of Education’s deadline for reporting data following the 2010–11 school year. The final two states—Idaho and Kentucky—received an extension from the U.S. Department of Education and plan to report no later than 2014.

The report also notes that all high schools in a state must meet a state-set graduation rate goal for federal accountability by 2014; as of summer 2010, twenty-two states set a goal of 90 percent or higher while twenty-seven set a goal between 80 and 89 percent.

The complete report is available at http://bit.ly/euRu1J.

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