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Every Student Counts: The Role of Federal Policy in Improving Graduation Rate Accountability

As the poor performance of U.S. high schools has been acknowledged and come to the forefront of education policy debates over the past several years, so too has a recognition of the need to improve graduation rate calculations and accountability for increasing those rates. A range of state, national, and federal efforts have been launched toward this end—many of which were codified in the October 2008 federal regulations on Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). This brief, Every Student Counts: The Role of Federal Policy in Improving Graduation Rate Accountability, provides background information on the movement toward better data collection, common graduation rate calculations, and meaningful accountability for raising graduation rates and describes in detail the culminating federal policy changes made by the regulations, which reflect both the significant progress that has been made and the hurdles that remain.

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