Diplomas Count: Beyond High School, Before Baccalaureate, a report produced in conjunction with Education Week and Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) was released today. The intensive study measures high school graduation rates across the nation. The class of 2008 is the most recent graduating cohort to be profiled by the annual report.

According to the study, the nation’s high school graduation rate improved by 2.9 percent from 68.8 percent in 2007 to 71.7 percent in 2008, but Ohio’s graduation rate suffered a slight decline. A total of 74.3 percent of Ohio high school students from the class of 2008 graduated, down three tenths of a percent from the state’s previous year’s graduation rate of 74.6. Ohio’s high school graduation rate still outperforms the nation’s graduation rate of 71.7 percent.

Diplomas Count states that Ohio’s high school graduation rate has increased by seven percent over the past ten years. Ohio’s ten-year graduation rate increase was slightly higher than the nation’s increase of 6.1 percent over the same time period.

The report forecasts that more than 1.15 million students from the class of 2011 will fail to graduate. In 2010, Diplomas Count predicted that more than 1.29 million students would fail to graduate. This year’s projected non-graduate count is approximately 140,000 fewer than the 2010 edition of the EPE report which predicted that 1.29 million students from the class of 2010 would fail to graduate with their peers. Ohio’s share of projected non-graduates for this school year amounted to slightly more than three percent of the nation’s projected non-graduates.

Diplomas Count predicted that 39,336 Ohio students would fail to graduate with their peers, up slightly from 39,202 students the year before—an increase of less than one half of one percent. This number, divided by 180 days of school represents an average of slightly more than 218 students per day.—an average of 217 students per day, three percent of the nation’s total non-graduates.

To calculate the graduation rates, EPE used the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI), multiplying the four grade to grade promotion rates (including those that actually graduated). This information was found in the Common Core Data maintained annually by the U.S. Department of Education.

Ohio does not use the CPI to calculate its graduation rate, relying instead on the Leaver Rate. This formula defines the state’s graduation rate as the percentage of students who leave high school with a diploma when compared to the number of other students who leave with alternative credentials or drop out.

According to the Leaver Rate, Ohio posted an 83.4 percent graduation rate for the class of 2008. When the CPI was used in Diplomas Count, Ohio’s graduation rate was found to be 74.3 percent.

Click for a larger version of this image. Data Sources: Ohio Department of Education, Diplomas Count

Regardless of which formula is used to calculate Ohio’s graduation rate, serious achievement gaps exist in Ohio that are exemplified by the class of 2008. According to Diplomas Count, White and Asian students graduated at a much higher rate (80 and 75.5 percent, respectively) when compared with Black (46.7 percent), Hispanic (43.2 percent) or American Indian (61.4 percent) students. Additionally, female students’ average graduation rate was seven percent higher than male students’ graduation rate. No data was included in the study for Special Education students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

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