Education

Stat of the Week — Oct. 12, 2006

October 12, 2006 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Don’t Mess With Texas Graduation Rates

Last week, the EPE Research Center released “High School Graduation in Texas,” a troubling report on Texas graduation rates. According to the report, the statewide 2002-03 graduation rate in Texas is 66.8 percent, meaning that 120,000 students fail to receive a standard high school diploma on time. The state-reported rate of 84.2 percent is a full 17 percentage points higher than the graduation rate calculated using EPE Research Center Director Christopher B. Swanson’s Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) method.

See other stories on education issues in Texas. See data on Texas’ public school system.

As the 2006 special report Diplomas Count revealed, it is common for states to overestimate their graduation rate when compared to figures generated by independent research. The average state overestimates its graduation compared to the CPI by 12 percentage points. What makes Texas remarkable is the fact that the state has in place an advanced data system that assigns each student a unique identifier, allowing the state to track students through graduation. Such a data system should allow for a straightforward accounting of who graduates and who doesn’t, and many states are striving to put such a system in place. However, analysis of state data by the Harvard Civil Rights Project revealed that discrepancies were the result of the state’s decision to remove certain types of students (e.g. those who get a GED or fail to pass the state exit exam) entirely from the calculation of the graduation rate.

Click image to view larger graphic.

In addition to revealing an inflated state-wide graduation rate, the EPE Research Center report also found that state-reported figures are also higher than CPI rates for each of the state’s 10 largest school districts, although the size of the discrepancies vary considerably according to such factors as socioeconomic status. For example, we find an overestimate of 22 percentage points for the Houston ISD but only 9 points for the more affluent Cypress-Fairbanks district in suburban Houston.

Graduation-rate inflation can also be found when we examine rates for specific racial and ethnic groups across the state of Texas. In fact, this overestimation is more extreme among historically disadvantaged minority groups. Official graduation rates for black and Hispanic students are overestimated by 20 percentage points or more, relative to CPI estimates. By comparison, rates for white students are inflated by 15 points.

Click image to view larger graphic.

The report was released in conjunction with The Texas Dropout Crisis and Our Children, a conference at Rice University co-sponsored by the EPE Research Center, the Harvard Civil Rights Project, and the Rice University Center for Education.

If you want to see how your local school district stacks up against state and national averages for graduation rates, visit the EPE Research Center’s new mapping Web site. With this service, users can create maps and download report cards on graduation rates for every U.S. school district.

To find out more about graduation policies in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, access the Education Counts database.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Letter to the Editor EdWeek's Most-Read Letters of 2022
Here are this year’s top five Letters to the Editor.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
Education In Their Own Words Withstanding Trauma, Leading With Honesty, and More: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our journalists highlight why stories on the impact of trauma on schooling and the fallout of the political discourse on race matter to the field.
4 min read
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP
Education In Their Own Words Masking, Miscarriages, and Mental Health: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our reporters share the stories they wrote that rose above the fray—and why.
5 min read
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Allison V. Smith for Education Week
Education Opinion The Top 10 Rick Hess Straight Up Columns of 2022
NAEP, pre-K, who decides what gets taught. Those are among the most popular or impactful posts of the year.
2 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty