Special Report

Sources and Notes

May 30, 2008 6 min read
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Basic Information

Year established: Indicator refers to year in which current council (including current members) began meeting. For councils that were reconstituted or that superseded predecessor groups (e.g., because of change in status resulting from new authorizing executive order), indicator reflects year that current composition was established. Education Commission of the States, Database on P-16 and P-20 Councils, 2008.

Authorization mechanism: Council was established via governor’s executive order, legislative statute, and/or state board of education resolution. Ibid.

Structure and Accountability

Coordinating entity: Government agency, office, or other participating group that serves convening or coordinating function for council. If coordinating agency rotates periodically, all applicable members are listed. Cell is left blank if council has no lead agency or all partners have equal status. Ibid.

Local/regional councils: Statewide body has network of regional councils within state involved with P-16 issues on local basis. Ibid.

Council meets at least quarterly: Statewide council convenes once a quarter or more frequently. Ibid.

Performance goals: Goals corresponding to numeric and tangible state activity have been set by council itself or by another agency. Ibid.

Funding and Staffing

Dedicated funding: Council has dedicated source of funding, separate from in-kind contributions of partnering state agencies. Ibid.

Staff: Council is supported by at least 0.5 full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff member. Ibid.

Membership and Composition

Governor chairs council: State governor chairs council meetings on regular basis. Ibid.

Number of members: Size of council, including ex officio members. Ibid.

Composition of council: Agencies, institutions, or sectors represented by council membership: education (early-childhood, elementary/secondary, postsecondary), government (governor’s office, state legislature, executive-branch agencies excluding economic and workforce), business community (including related state government agencies), and such other stakeholder groups as community and labor representatives. Members representing multiple categories may be counted more than once. Ibid.

Initiatives and Policy Changes

Using the ECS database, the EPE Research Center classified areas of council-identified initiatives using the following set of categories: expansion of preschool enrollment or alignment of early-childhood education with elementary schooling; alignment of high school standards or assessments with postsecondary expectations; dual-enrollment programs allowing high school students to earn postsecondary credits; promoting more-challenging high school coursetaking; policies to establish standards for enrollment in credit-bearing college courses or to reduce remediation; K-12 teacher quality and preparation; development of longitudinal-data systems spanning the P-16 education continuum; workforce and economic-development initiatives; and other programsor initiatives not falling into the preceding categories. Areas in which councils are active are coded as “Initiative.” Areas where the ECS determined that policy changes were brought about by the council are coded as “Policy.” Ibid.


Online information:Information about council activities is available online through Web site maintained by state’s council, K-12 education agency, higher education agency, and/or governor’s office. Information is current as of April 2008. Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, 2008.

Authorizing information: Web site provides copy of or link to executive order, legislation, or board resolution authorizing council (if applicable). Ibid.

Mission statement: Web site provides explicit mission statement or set of clearly stated goals for council. Ibid.

Membership: Web site provides listing of council members, noting individuals by name or office. Ibid.

Meeting schedule, agendas, and minutes: Web site provides information about council activities: schedules for prior or future meetings; agendas (listing specific topics for discussion); and minutes for at least one past meeting. Ibid.

Progress reporting: Web site provides access to reports, press releases, or other information related to council’s accomplishments or progress. Ibid.


Defining Readiness

How Does the EPE Research Center Calculate Graduation Rates?

Diplomas Count uses the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) method to calculate graduation rates. That formula computes the percent of public high school students who graduate on time with a diploma. The CPI rate captures four key steps a student must take in order to graduate: three grade-to-grade promotions (9 to 10, 10 to 11, and 11 to 12) and ultimately earning a diploma (grade 12 to graduation). By multiplying grade-specific promotion ratios together, the CPI estimates the percent of 9th graders who complete high school on time with a regular diploma, given the schooling conditions prevailing during a particular school year. In keeping with the definition of a graduate established by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the CPI counts only students receiving standard high school diplomas as graduates.

Graduation rates in this report are for the high school class of 2005, the most recent year for which data are available. Data were obtained from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data (CCD). Because Alabama did not report 2004-05 diploma counts to the CCD, the EPE Research Center obtained diploma data from that state’s education agency.

College-readiness definition: State has formal expectations for what students will need to know and be able to do in order to be admitted to state’s two-year and/or four-year institutions and enroll in credit-bearing courses. State approaches to defining college readiness have been classified into following categories: courses, skills, standards, and tests. Some states’ definitions may include elements that do not fall into categories established for this analysis. EPE Research Center annual state policy survey (2007-08 school year), 2007.

Work-readiness definition: K-12 education system has formal expectations for what high school students will need to know and be able to do in order to be prepared for work. State approaches to defining work readiness have been classified into following categories: courses, skills, standards, and tests. Some states’ definitions may include elements that do not fall into categories established for this analysis. Ibid.

Distinct definitions of readiness: K-12 education system has different definitions of college readiness and work readiness. Ibid.

High School Completion Credentials

Credits to earn standard diploma: Credit requirements are expressed in Carnegie units unless otherwise specified. One Carnegie unit is equivalent to one year of coursework. Credits reflect minimum course requirements mandated by state for standard high school diploma. Education Commission of the States, Standard High School Graduation Requirements (50-state), 2007.

Standard diploma options: Indicates types of regular diplomas issued by state: standard, college preparatory, and/or career-technical specialization. EPE Research Center annual state policy survey (2007-08 school year), 2007.

Advanced recognition for exceeding standard requirements: State offers advanced diploma or other form of recognition for students who exceed requirements of standard diploma, by completing additional coursework, achieving high grade point average (GPA), or other accomplishments. Ibid.

Focus of advanced recognition: State awards honors for accomplishments in core academic subjects and/or accomplishments in career-technical program. Ibid.

Basis for advanced recognition: State awards honors for accomplishments in one or more of following areas: courses, GPA, and tests. Some states have requirements that do not fall into categories used in this analysis. Ibid.

Alternative credential for not meeting all standard requirements: State offers credential, such as certificate of attendance, for students not meeting criteria for standard diploma. Ibid.

Basis for alternative credential: State offers alternative credentials for students with disabilities or those young people failing exit exams, although other students may be eligible in some states. Ibid.

Industry certificate or license: State offers high school students option of participating in career or technical program or pathway that leads to industry-recognized certificate or license. Ibid.


State has exit exam: State requires that students pass exit exam or one or more end-of-course exams in order to graduate. EPE Research Center annual state policy survey (2007-08 school year), 2007.

Subjects tested: Academic subject areas covered on state exit exams.Ibid.

Exam based on standards for 10th grade or higher: State has exit exam(s) aligned to state 10th grade standards or higher in at least one academic subject. This includes exams that cover standards from 9th to 11th grades or end-of-course exams for courses that are typically taken in 10th grade or above. Ibid.

Financing for remediation: State provides at least partial financial support for remediation of students who fail exit exams. Ibid.

Appeals process or alternative route: State allows students to appeal after failing exit exam or has alternative route students can take to earn standard diploma. Ibid.


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