DATA & REPORTS:
HIGH SCHOOL COHORT GRADUATION RATES:
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (CALCULATION OVERVIEW)
INFORMATION (CALCULATION OVERVIEW)
||When reviewing and analyzing
high school assessment data, it is important to be aware that the results are influenced
by the fact that a proportion of students drops out before graduating high school
and does not participate in certain assessments. An "event" dropout rate
is the type of rate that has typically been collected and reported in Vermont and
nationally for many years. An event rate describes the percentage of students who
drop out across grades nine through twelve in a single year. For a number of years,
the Vermont event drop out rate has consistently remained at 4 percent to 5 percent.
Describing dropouts with this methodology is important, but it masks the magnitude
of the dropout problem. A more descriptive approach is to track the proportion of
students who enter high school in ninth grade, but who do not graduate in four years;
this is called a "cohort" rate.
The estimated four-year cohort graduation rate, presented in this report, is calculated
by using the data collected for the event graduation and event dropout rate reports.
Until Vermont has a more sophisticated student information system that allows the
dropout problem to be more accurately tracked at a student-level, this estimated
rate is the best approximation currently available. Because the rate is based aggregate
data (data of a population as a whole), it cannot be disaggregated, or broken up,
by gender, poverty or disability status. Nonetheless, many educators are confident
that male students who live in poverty and/or who have disabilities account for a
large proportion of students who drop out.
Although the estimated cohort rate has limitations, it is likely that it reasonably
describes the scale of Vermont's dropout problem. One limitation is that it cannot
account for the students who may dropout and later re-enroll in either the same school
or another school. It also includes both graduates and dropouts who may not have
been part of the original cohort that started in the school at ninth grade. Lastly,
rate is limited to four-year graduates and does not account for students who may
graduate in five or six years.
Keeping these limitations in mind, the Agency of Education calculated the estimated
average state rate as 81 percent, meaning one in five Vermont students entering ninth
grade drops out before graduating four years later. The most comparable national
rate is 78 percent, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.
Graduation rates for Vermont public high schools that have sufficient numbers of
students to compute a valid statistic range from a low of 66 percent to a high of
Estimated graduation rate data displayed in the accompanying report were submitted
by high schools over two four-year periods, from 1996 through 1999 and 1997 through
2000. These data track two graduating classes while recording dropouts and transfers
to other schools. The resulting statewide estimated graduation rate is the product
of tracking each class over the expected four years to graduation. The two class
rates were then averaged to add stability to the calculation. When the class of 2002
data is finalized, an updated report will be issued based on the classes of 2001