Published Online: September 27, 2005
Published in Print: September 28, 2005, as GAO Questions State Graduation-Rate Data

News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

GAO Questions State Graduation-Rate Data

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints

Fewer than half the states conduct audits to verify that the school and district data used to calculate high school graduation rates are accurate, according to a survey conducted by the Government Accountability Office.

The No Child Left Behind Act requires states to use graduation rates, along with test scores, to assess how much progress high schools are making in educating their students. But each state has flexibility in determining how the graduation rate will be calculated, as long as its method is “valid and reliable.”

The GAO surveyed officials in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico as part of a study to assess the accuracy of states’ graduation rates. It selected 20 states for further analysis.

The study found that data inaccuracies, such as miscounting the number of dropouts, could significantly raise or lower a school’s graduation rate. And it suggested that the Department of Education has not done enough to help improve the accuracy of state data.

In July, the department announced plans to calculate and report interim graduation-rate estimates for each state. But the GAO report questioned whether the department would have accurate enough data for calculating those estimates.

Vol. 25, Issue 05, Page 25

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented