Diplomas Count 2009: Broader Horizons

June 11, 2009

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Vol. 28, Issue 34
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An archive of the June 11 interactive presentation and discussion of the key findings from this year’s annual Diplomas Count report is now available.

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Our group of experts discuss initiatives at the national, state, and local levels that aim to prepare all students for postsecondary education.

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
What it means to be ready to attend college is open to argument, with no firm consensus on how to measure college readiness or ensure that all students clear such a bar.
Reports for every state feature detailed, state-specific data on current graduation rates and trends over time, defi nitions of college readiness, high school exit exams, and state requirements for earning a high school diploma. A national graduation brief is available as well.
This interactive map allows users to explore changes in state graduation rates for every state and the District of Columbia over the past decade.
Examine graduation data and other indicators across the United States using the EdWeek Maps database. Interactive mapping technology allows users to zoom in on their states and access detailed data for every school district in the country.
The EPE Research Center’s database of more than 1,000 state-level K-12 education indicators spanning more than a decade. Use Education Counts to build custom tables, charts, and maps using data from Diplomas Count 2009.
At a time when only seven in 10 American students graduate from high school in four years, an ambitious new president is demanding that the nation raise its educational sights even higher.
As the national drumbeat for college readiness grows louder, policymakers and scholars trumpet the potent role that a school’s “college-going culture” can play.
Florida has been hailed as one of the nation’s bright spots in the use of longitudinal data, with a history of building an information-rich “data warehouse” that connects K-12, postsecondary, and workforce information.
Enthusiasts are convinced that data can be a critical lever in helping schools focus on what matters in preparing students for college.
Federal regulations have opened a door that allows schools to get credit under the No Child Left Behind Act for students who take five or more years to earn a high school diploma.
Some observers have argued that graduation rates are failing to reach a level necessary to put the United States on a solid footing in a competitive global economy.
The backdrop for policy debates continues to be formed by a host of disconcerting statistics about the college readiness and college-completion rates of American students.
"The idea of 'college for everyone' is a road paved with good intentions, but locking every student into a college path is actually limiting," writes Mel J. Riddle.
"Our goal is to put data systems to work so that by the time our students graduate from high school, we can award them a diploma with confidence that they are well prepared for the real world that awaits them," writes Edward G. Rendell.
School systems prosper when they have opportunities to learn from a research and data capacity that can inform school design and tactics to increase graduation, writes Michele Cahill.
More states are spelling out a definition of college ready.
Table District Map: Graduation-Rate Changes, 1996-2006 PDF
Table State-by-State Graduation Rates in the U.S. PDF
Table Graduation Rates for 50 Largest Districts PDF
Table Table: Graduation Policies: Class of 2009 PDF
How Does the EPE Research Center Calculate Graduation Rates?
Diplomas Count is produced with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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