On-Time Graduation Rate Ticks Higher

Virginia’s on-time graduation rate improved by half a percentage point in the 2017-18 school year, according to Virginia Department of Education data released today. Of the students who entered high school as first-time ninth graders in 2014:

  • 50,979 (52%) earned an Advanced Studies Diploma (including International Baccalaureate).
  • 36,013 (36.8%) earned a Standard Diploma.
  • 2,733 (2.8%) earned an Applied Studies or Modified Standard Diploma
  • 1,046 (1.1%) earned a GED.
  • 5,404 (5.5%) dropped out.

Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane credits the “hard work and dedication” of teachers, principals, support staff and others who “refused to give up on students who might otherwise have dropped out.” The improvement also reflects “the responsiveness of school divisions to the state Board of Education’s focus on reducing absenteeism and dropout rates.”

Bacon’s bottom line: Hopefully, the improvement in the on-time graduation rate reflects real improvements, not a statistical mirage. But VDOE data is only as good as the data submitted by the school districts, and data submitted by the school districts is only as good as the data submitted by high school principals, and data submitted by high school principals is not always reliable, as we have seen.

The increase in the on-time graduation rate coincides with continued high rates of chronic absenteeism. Maybe we are witnessing the fruits of anti-truancy programs that rope school-skippers back into the classroom and the transformation effects of the new restorative discipline programs implemented in many school systems. Or maybe not. Surely there is a way to stress test the VDOE on-time graduation data to see how robust the improvement is.

Update: John Butcher subjects the graduation rate numbers to closer scrutiny in Cranky’s Blog. There are lots of ways to play with the data.

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3 responses to “On-Time Graduation Rate Ticks Higher

  1. I don’t find the total aggregate numbers as useful as I would a histogram to basically show the variation across the school districts in Va.

    Also a rank list of the school districts scores and within the larger school systems histogram rank list of individual schools

    This data IS available at VDOE: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/statistics_reports/research_data/index.shtml

    and they should get credit for making it available also…

    I can get it into a spreadsheet – but beyond that, I need more time on task to generate those charts.

    But – yeah – the whole reason to try to keep kids in school, including the disruptive ones via separate alternative education programs is to get them as far as they can go before they’re out on their own ….. and hope they will find their way to a job and pay taxes ..the more of them that do that – the better for those that will have to pay taxes to support them ….

    anyone looking for perfection here….. bad on you….

  2. “50,979 (52%) earned an Advanced Studies Diploma (including International Baccalaureate).
    36,013 (36.8%) earned a Standard Diploma.”
    2,733 (2.8%) earned an Applied Studies or Modified Standard Diploma
    1,046 (1.1%) earned a GED.
    5,404 (5.5%) dropped out.”

    This sort of overblown nonsense, is the sure sign of a failed system. The lack of seriousness inherent in such officious make work simplistic pie in the sky statistics are a sure sign of chronically avoiding the truth of what is going on.

    Why?

    Because so many within the public system do not want to confront the truth. They will instead do anything to avoid the truth.

    For example, please show us by competent and reliable testing how many of the “50,979 (52%) kids earning an Advanced Studies Diploma (including International Baccalaureate), can read, write, and compute numbers at the 12th grade level? How many at the 11th grade level? At the 10th grade level? At the 9th grade level? How many are functionally illiterate?

    As to the 36,013 (36.8%) who earned a Standard Diploma:” I suspect that half these kids are functioning at or below the 9th grade level. And many of those kid are functionally illiterate, operating at below the 6th grade. And that the majority of all our high school graduates have no employable skills, moral training, or work ethic at all.

    So what have they been doing and learning for the last 12 years in public elementary, middle school, and high school? Does anyone know, or care? Does nobody know, or care? Or nobody will say? Or nobody will tell the truth?

    This is not to say that some relative few public schools are quite good. It is to say that the substantial majority of public schools are chronically failing are children.

    And we refuse to admit all this, much less to anything about it within the public school system, despite the fact we all know how to fix the problem. Why? Because a majority of our private and charter schools are successful and give our kids, no matter their background, a good and solid education.
    So our public schools have the ingredients of success in front of their noses but vehemently refuse to see those ingredients, much less use them. This is why Betsy DeVos is considered such a treat, and is so demonized.

    Meanwhile, the majority of public schools continue to harm our children daily, chasing scapegoats like “restorative justice” and other illusions.

  3. Correction and elaboration to last 2 paragraphs above:

    And we refuse to admit all this record of grossly failing generations of our kids, much less do anything about these long festering problems within our public school systems, despite the fact that we all know how to fix all these problems.

    Why?

    Well, the fixes are all quite obvious. A great majority of our private and charter schools are quite successful, among the most successful schools in the world. The substantial majority of these private and charter schools give their students, no matter their background, a good and solid education. ALL KIDS CAN LEARN. We prove this daily, right here in America. But the great majority of our public schools refuse to teach our kids, or insist that they learn.

    As a result:

    All our public schools have the ingredients of success in front of their noses but vehemently refuse to see those ingredients, much less use them. This is why Betsy DeVos is considered such a treat, and is so demonized.

    Meanwhile, the majority of our public schools continue to harm our children daily, chasing scapegoats like “restorative justice” and other illusions.

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