National High School Graduation Rate Climbs

The national high school graduation rate has improved notably, with 78.2 percent of public school students receiving a diploma in 2009-10, up from 75.5 percent the year before, according to the newest figures released from the National Center for Education Statistics Tuesday.

In 2005-06, the rate was 73.4 percent, and in 2000-01, it was 71.7 percent.

The new NCES report reflects the best performance in decades by high school students. It is the highest graduation rate since 1969-70, when the figure was 78.7 percent. Since 1972, when the dropout rate was 14.6 percent, it has steadily improved, falling to 11 percent in 1992 and 3.4 percent for the class of 2010.

There were 38 states with an increase of one percentage point or more, in the most recent analysis. Overall, 3.1 million students received a diploma in 2009-10, the report, “Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2009-10” finds.

Student success varied widely, with an “averaged freshman graduation rate” of 57.8 percent in Nevada and 91.4 percent in Vermont. AFGR looks at on-time graduation rates for freshmen over four years.

The NCES analysis shows about 514,000 or 3.4 percent of public school students in grades 9-12 dropped out of the Class of 2010. That is a decline from the previous year, when a 4.1 percent dropout rate was reported. The states struggling the most with dropout rates were Mississippi (7.4 percent) and Arizona (7.8 percent), while New Hampshire has just 1.2 percent of students quitting and Idaho 1.4 percent. (Read more.)

Via Caralee Adam, Education Week.

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Web-Based Tool Aims to Ease the Transfer Process

The California Community Colleges (CCC) and the California State University (CSU) have launched a new website that provides comprehensive information about the new Associate Degree for Transfer pathway that lets students earn an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree, with no wasted units.

The key features of the ADegreeWithAGuarantee.com include:

  • Complete details on how the new transfer pathway works
  • Up-to-date information about the transfer majors available at CCC campuses that are matched to similar BA degrees at CSU campuses
  • Interactive maps that help students find a campus
  • Application information
  • A degree progress checklist
  • Testimonials from students who have earned an Associate Degree for Transfer and have successfully transferred to a CSU campus

The California Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act, which became law in 2010, requires the CCC and CSU to collaborate on the creation of the Associate Degree to Transfer initiative. Upon earning the degree, students will be guaranteed admission to a CSU campus with junior standing. While not guaranteed admission to their campus of choice, students will be given priority consideration for admission to a CSU campus that offers a program that has been designated as “similar” by CSU. Once enrolled at CSU, students will be able to complete a bachelor’s degree with no more than 60 additional units.

Via Times Staff, Community College Staff.

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Calculating High School Graduation Rates and Trends

During the most recent strategic planning meeting for the Southern and Eastern Sierra CTE Collaborative, measurement of the strategic goals was brought up. You may recall that the first strategic goal of the Collaborative is to “increase the number of high school graduates in the region.” In determining how to measure this goal, the first item of discussion is baseline data. In other words we need to know where we currently are in terms of graduation rates before we can begin viewing trend data to see progress. Because the Collaborative covers such a large region, another concern is uniform data. Once it is determined how to measure graduation rates, it is important to use that same measure across the entire region.  The attached Research Brief is a discussion of calculating high school graduation rates and trends for the Collaborative. It is designed to show collaborative members which data are used and why. Take a moment to view the Brief and then if you need more information or want to request more specific data for your particular school, feel free to send your request to vvanry@kccd.edu.

To view in WORD: Calculating Graduation Rates and Trends.

To view pdf: Calculating Graduation Rates and Trends.

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From Laggards to Leaders

The numbers tell the story.

Two million students, 18,000 teachers, 36 states plus the District of Columbia, 26 national organizations, 24 companies, and 16 state governors joined forces on-line last week to celebrate the first ever National Digital Learning Day.

Their message was clear: Digital technology powers learning.

Technology in the classroom is not just about the latest tools; it’s an imperative for a country with a high dropout rate competing in a globalized world.

As smart use of digital technology expands, it could boost high school completion. More than 1 million of our students drop out every year — something that’s referred to as the “leaking pipeline:”

Across the country, 24 out of 100 9th graders are below “Basic” on NAEP reading scores and only 72 will graduate from high school. Forty-four of those students will enter college, but 16 will need remediation, and only 20 will finish with a college degree.

Digital technology makes it possible for teachers to differentiate more effectively by personalizing the learning to meet the needs of each student at every level. With the right use of technologies, we can shift our time from classroom management to focused learning on HOW to teach depth of content and concepts. This is especially critical for our newest teachers.

Mooresville Graded School District in N.C., understands the important role digital tech can play. The district made a huge push to integrate digital technologies, and raised its graduation rate by 25% and is now 3rd out of 115 school districts with one of the lowest per-pupil expenditures in the state. (Read more.)

Via The U.S. Department of Education Homeroom Blog.

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Census: More Hispanics Graduating High School, Attending 2-Year Colleges

A higher percentage of young Hispanic adults is finishing high school, and the number attending a two-year college has nearly doubled over the last decade, according to new Census data.

The percentage of Hispanic 18- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in high school and don’t have an equivalent degree was 22 percent in 2008, down from 34 percent in 1998.

Meanwhile, the number attending a 2-year college increased 85 percent, from 540,000 in 2000 to 1 million in 2008.

“It’s an amazing level of growth,” said Kurt Bauman, the chief of the Census Bureau’s education branch.

Researchers said the numbers on high school completion were the result of several factors, including targeted efforts to reduce the number of Latino students dropping out, as well as an increasing percentage born and attending all their schooling in the United States.

But several experts also expressed concern that high numbers are choosing two-year colleges, where students tend to have lower completion rates and frequently do not go on to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Jose Cruz, vice president for higher education policy and practice with the Education Trust, pointed to studies that show a majority of Latino students aspire to earn a bachelor’s degree, but noted they are overrepresented in 2-year institutions. He attributed the gap to issues of K-12 preparation, insufficient counseling and the overwhelming financial contribution low-income families must make in order to attend a 4-year institution.

Frank Alvarez, president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, himself a community college graduate, said that many students fail to finish an associate degree because they find themselves inadequately prepared and lacking guidance once they make their way into the system.

“If you’re going to community college because it’s less costly, or because it’s the option that’s closest to you, there’s nothing wrong with that, but please continue to a four-year school,” Alvarez said.

The Census report contained a number of other education indicators, including data on early education and demographics. The number of students enrolled in kindergarten has increased from 2.9 million in 1978 to 4 million in 2008. Higher numbers are also going to full-day instead of part-day programs.

Among nursery school students, Hispanic students made up 18 percent, an increase of 5 percent from 1998.

Deborah Santiago, vice president for policy and research at Excelencia in Education, said the findings on high school completion should be celebrated, though she cautioned there was still significant work to be done targeting dropout factories and increasing college readiness.

“What this does is create an opportunity to think about the population even more clearly as a college-going community, as a community that does have educational success,” Santiago said.

Via Community College Week.

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