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Graduation rate is a buzzword often used in education, but many don’t really understand what it is or how it is calculated.  When a school has a high grad rate, the assumption is that the school is a success.  Similarly, a school with a low grad rate is assumed to be a failure. But is that always the case?  Let’s take a deeper dive into graduation rates, and explore other ways in which graduation can be measured that would provide a fairer and more accurate picture of how schools are serving students.  

Student Centered Accountability Approach – Fourth Year

In the current graduation rate model, only the fourth year matters.  What does this mean? In order to explain this, let’s create a couple of schools and a handful of students.  These are not real situations.  Our first student is Ben.  Ben is a senior at Banks High School.  This is his first year at this school due to a family move.  He really struggled academically and only earned three credits per semester at his previous school.  Upon enrolling as a senior at Banks High, he was severely credit deficient and is not going to graduate, but he is excelling at Banks High.  He earned six credits each semester (the average number of annual credits to graduate in four years).

Unfortunately, Ben is going to hurt Banks High’s accountability, even though the school was able to help him in a way that his prior school never did.  The reason?  Only the last school, that last holds the student as an enrollee, receives the penalty for his graduation status.  The question we must ask ourselves as we dig through the next paragraphs, “Is this individual student engaged, learning and progressing toward graduation at his current school?”

Read full article on ecs.org.

About The Author

Chase Eskelsen

Chase Eskelsen M.Ed. has worked in many capacities within virtual education, including student enrollment, state testing, operations, and academic policy. Prior to joining the K12 team, he was a communications director for a recording studio and radio station. He helped launch a non-profit, Engage International, that seeks to create opportunities for displaced peoples around the globe. Chase earned a bachelors degree in pastoral theology/religious studies from a private college in the Silicon Valley and a Masters of School Administration through an online graduate program based out of Northern California.

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