Special Report
Education

Sources & Notes

June 07, 2007 4 min read
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DEFINING READINESS

State has defined college readiness: State has formal expectations for what students will need to know and be able to do in order to be admitted to the state’s two-year and/or four-year institutions and enroll in credit-bearing courses. EPE Research Center annual state policy survey, 2006.

How college readiness is defined: The EPE Research Center identified a set of major approaches states use to define readiness: courses, skills, standards, and tests. This column lists the approaches used by each state that has developed a definition. Some states’ definitions may include elements that do not fall into the categories established for this analysis. Ibid.

K-12 education system has definition of work readiness: State has formal expectations for what high school students will need to know and be able to do in order to be prepared for the workplace. Ibid.

How work readiness is defined: The EPE Research Center identified a set of major approaches states use to define readiness: courses, skills, standards, and tests. This column lists the approaches used by each state that has developed a definition. Some states’ definitions may include elements that do not fall into the categories established for this analysis. Ibid.

K-12 work-readiness definition is different from college readiness: Ibid.

HIGH SCHOOL COMPLETION CREDENTIALS

Total number of credits required 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 the minimum course requirements mandated by the state for a standard high school diploma. Education Commission of the States, “Standard High School Graduation Requirements (50-state),” 2007. Some figures adjusted by the EPE Research Center based on analysis of state documents.

How Does the EPE Research Center Calculate Graduation Rates?

Diplomas Count uses the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) method to calculate graduation rates. The CPI estimates 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 percentage of 9th graders who will complete high school on time with a regular diploma, given the schooling conditions prevailing during a particular school year. The CPI counts only students receiving standard high school diplomas as graduates, following the definition of a graduate adopted by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Graduation rates in this report are for graduates in 2003-04, 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). New York and Wisconsin did not report 2003-04 diploma counts to the CCD. For those states, the EPE Research Center collected diploma data from the respective state education offices.

Standard diploma options: EPE Research Center annual state policy survey, 2006.

Advanced recognition for exceeding standard requirements: States receiving a check in this column offer an advanced diploma or other form of recognition for students who exceed the requirements of a standard diploma, by completing additional coursework, achieving a high grade point average (GPA), or other accomplishments. Ibid.

Focus of advanced recognition: Results are based on an EPE Research Center analysis of states’ advanced diplomas and other types of formal recognition for additional accomplishments. States generally award honors for accomplishments in the core academic subjects and/or accomplishments in a career-technical program. Ibid.

Basis for advanced recognition: Results are based on an EPE Research Center analysis of states’ advanced diplomas and other types of formal recognition for additional accomplishments. States award honors for accomplishments related to three major categories: courses, GPA, and tests. Some states have requirements that do not fall into the categories used in this analysis. Ibid.

Alternative credential for not meeting all standard requirements: States receiving a check in this column offer a credential, such as a certificate of attendance, for students not meeting the criteria for a standard diploma. Ibid.

Basis for alternative credential: Based on an analysis of states’ alternative credentials, the EPE Research Center categorized the requirements or criteria for students receiving certificates or other forms of recognition. States typically offer such credentials for students with disabilities or those young people failing exit exams, although other students may be eligible in some states. Ibid.

K-12 system offers pathway leading to industry-recognized certificate or license: State offers high school students the option of participating in a career or technical program or pathway that leads to an industry-recognized certificate or license. Ibid.

STATE EXIT EXAMS

State has exit exam: States receiving a check in this column require that students pass an exit exam or one or more end-of-course exams in order to graduate. EPE Research Center annual state policy survey, 2006.

Subjects tested on exit exam: Ibid.

Exam based on standards for 10th grade or higher: States receiving a check in this column have exit exams aligned to state 10th grade standards or higher in at least one academic subject. This includes exams that cover standards from the 9th to 11th grades, or end-of-course exams for courses that are typically taken in the 10th grade or above. Ibid.

State finances remediation for students failing exit exams: States receiving a check in this column at least partially finance remediation for students who fail exit exams. Ibid.

State has appeals process or alternative route for students who fail exit exam: States receiving a check in this column allow students to appeal after failing an exit exam or have an alternative route students can take to earn a standard diploma. Ibid.

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