Federal

States Inch Ahead on Reporting Graduation Data

By Mary Ann Zehr — August 30, 2010 4 min read

More than eight years after the No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law, some states still aren’t complying with its requirement that they report graduation rates for subgroups of students, such as English-language learners or economically disadvantaged children.

But officials from some of those states now say they’ve gained the capacity to report those numbers and will be ready when the federal government requires graduation rates for subgroups of students to be used to judge adequate yearly progress under the law in the 2011-12 school year.

In the 2007-08 school year, the most recent for which state-by-state data reported to the federal government are available, Connecticut, Kentucky, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia reported a graduation rate only for “all students,” not for any subgroups, in their consolidated state performance reports to the U.S. Department of Education.

Nine additional states were missing graduation rates for at least two of the required subgroups of students. States are required to break out graduation rates for major racial and ethnic groups, children with disabilities, ELLs, economically disadvantaged students, migrant students, males, and females.

Education officials in Connecticut and Kentucky now say they are poised to be in compliance.

Tom Murphy, a spokesman for the Connecticut education department, said in an interview that a lack of resources had stalled the state’s capacity to report disaggregated graduation-rate data, but that the state is ready to do so.

“We’ve been building a database with a unique student identifier for the Race to the Top [federal grant competition], stabilization aid, and for our own appropriate next steps,” he said.

Connecticut reported a graduation rate for all the required subgroups of students, including ELLs, for the first time to the public in March and will report disaggregated graduation rates to the federal government this school year.

Kentucky also has been developing a system that assigns each student an identifier as a means of reporting graduation rates for the required student subgroups. At the earliest, the state expects to report disaggregated graduation-rate data to the federal government during the 2011-12 school year, said Lisa Gross, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky education department.

The disaggregated data will be “helpful,” said Ms. Gross. “Ethnically, we are not very diverse in Kentucky, but we have a huge gap in performance between African-American and white students on state tests.We know there is likely a gap in the area of graduation rates and dropout data, so we have to address that.”

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—whose current version is the NCLB law—could change how disaggregated graduation rates are reported if provisions in the law for adequate yearly progress are altered. But a number of education groups support the disaggregation of data for subgroups of students, including ELLs, so it’s likely states will be required to continue to report the data to the federal government, regardless of the fate of AYP.

“Graduation-rate data overall and by subgroup are important for instructional purposes,” Jim Bradshaw, a spokesman for the federal Education Department, said in an e-mail. “In particular, these data can help target interventions.”

He said that some states have not reported graduation rates for some required subgroups for reasons such as not having data systems with the capacity to do so, experiencing problems with data processing, and changing methods of calculating a graduation rate. A requirement for disaggregation of the graduation rate is “the best way to ensure that there’s not a perverse incentive to push kids out of school,” said Phillip D.C. Lovell, the vice president for federal advocacy for the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington-based policy and advocacy group.

If school districts were to break out only test scores and not graduation rates for subgroups of students, they could show they were reaching 100 percent proficiency even if many low-performing students had left school and not graduated, he explained.

Way Behind on ELLs

States particularly have lagged behind in meeting the requirement of the NCLB law to report a graduation rate for English-language learners. In the 2006-07 school year, 12 states plus the District of Columbia were missing that statistic in their reports to the federal government. In the 2007-08 school year, nine states plus the District of Columbia were still out of compliance.

Nevada, with about 74,000 English-learners, is one of the states that haven’t had the capacity to report graduation rates for ELLs.

Nevada will report disaggregated graduation data for ELLs and other required subgroups for the first time with the class of 2011, in time to have the data to use for AYP during the 2011-12 school year, said Steve P. Canavero, the director of the Nevada education department’s office of charter schools, who was formally a consultant in the state agency’s accountability office.

A version of this article appeared in the September 01, 2010 edition of Education Week as States Inch Ahead on Reporting Subgroup Graduation Data

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Embracing Student Engagement: The Pathway to Post-Pandemic Learning
As schools emerge from remote learning, educators are understandably worried about content and skills that students would otherwise have learned under normal circumstances. This raises the very real possibility that children will face endless hours
Content provided by Newsela

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

Federal LGBTQ Students Are Protected by Federal Anti-Discrimination Law, Education Dept. Says
Schools violate Title IX when they discriminate against students based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the agency said Wednesday.
4 min read
Demonstrators gather on the step of the Montana State Capitol on March 15, 2021 protesting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Helena, Mont. The Montana Senate Judiciary Committee voted March 18 to advance two bills targeting transgender youth despite overwhelming testimony opposing the measures. The measures would ban gender affirming surgeries for transgender minors and ban transgender athletes from participating in school and college sports. Both bills have already passed the Montana House. They head next to votes by the GOP-controlled Montana Senate.
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Montana State Capitol in March to protest bills on transgender students' ability to play on single-sex sports teams.
Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP
Federal What's at Stake in a Review of Federal Sex Discrimination Protections for Students
The Biden administration's review of Title IX may prompt new guidance on how schools deal with sexual harassment and protect LGBTQ students.
10 min read
Image of gender symbols drawn in chalk.
joxxxxjo/iStock/Getty
Federal Opinion Education Outlets Owe Readers More Than the Narratives They Want to Hear
It's vital that serious news organizations challenge runaway narratives and help readers avoid going down ideological rabbit holes.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal As GOP Leaves K-12 Out of Its Infrastructure Plan, Advocates Look For Alternatives
The GOP is proposing $1 trillion in federal dollars for the nation's infrastructure, but school buildings aren't part of their proposal.
6 min read
A trash can and pink kiddie pool are used to collect water that leaks from the roof into the media center at Green County High School in Snow Hill, N.C..
A trash can and pink kiddie pool are used to collect water that leaks from the roof into the media center at Green County High School in Snow Hill, N.C.
Alex Boerner for Education Week