When determining adequate yearly progress this year, the Department of Education plans to use the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate. All states will be required to use this new calculation next year; South Dakota is choosing to move ahead this year.
“Graduation rate is one of the major factors used to determine AYP,” said Dr. Melody Schopp, interim secretary of the South Dakota Department of Education, “so we don’t take this change lightly. We do anticipate that we will see a drop in the statewide graduation rate, and individual districts could see a drop as well.”
To that end, the department has requested to change its graduation rate goal for 2011 from 85 percent to 80 percent, as the transition takes place. This change needs to be approved by the U.S. Department of Education; to date, that approval has not been received.
The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate is defined as the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class. From the beginning of 9th grade, students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is subsequently “adjusted” by: 1) adding any students who transfer into the cohort later during the 9th grade and the next three years, and 2) subtracting any students who transfer out, emigrate to another country, or die during that same period.
The calculation is a deviation from what was previously used. Under the old calculation, for example, it didn’t matter how long it took a student to complete high school. Under the new calculation, the student has to complete high school in four years.
To learn more about the mechanics of the new four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, read this Q&A.
Data questions can be directed to Judy Merriman, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-4737 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Policy questions can be directed to Janet Ricketts, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-4689 or email@example.com