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Waiving Away High School Graduation Rate Accountability

Jan 10, 2012

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In November 2011, eleven states submitted applications to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) for waivers from key provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. Although the waiver process presents an opportunity to strengthen college and career readiness among the nation’s high school students, this analysis by the Alliance for Excellent Education finds that many state applications could have the unintended consequence of weakening high school graduation rate accountability. High school graduation rates account for 14 percent to 30 percent of state accountability indexes. With graduation rates counting for such a small portion of the overall accountability indexes, schools could have an incentive to push out low-achieving students in order to increase overall scores on achievement tests and other measures of college and career readiness.

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.