Thursday, April 2, 2015

Graduation Improvement (Estimating Our Ten-Year Progress)

Updating three posts from PrichBlog's early days (here, here and here), the chart above compares numbers of students tested at the end of grade 8 and numbers who made it to graduation four years later.

My previous post on this puzzle reported 2010 data, and since then, our graduation count is up 11 students, and the missing eighth grade count is down by 1,120.

Since 2005, the results are even more impressive, with graduates up by 5,598, and missing eighth-graders down by 4,757. 

Naturally, it would be better to be able to compare graduates to exact numbers of fall first-time ninth-graders. Before Kentucky was able to track individual students over time, the testing counts offered the closest I could come to a no-duplication estimate of the students who would make up that ninth-grade class.  Starting in 2009, we've been able to track each freshman through the high school years, which is why 2013 was the first year we could report a four-year cohort rate.  The estimation approach shown above has a trade off: a longer look using numbers that are a less exact match to what we really want to know.  When we have 10 years of cohort rates, it will be great not to need this kind of technique.

Still, this method gives us a sense of our progress over a sweep of years, and it's good to see Kentucky gaining on this challenge.

(Source notes: Eighth grade testing counts come from Kentucky Department of Education assessment results files for 2001 through 2010. 2005 through 2010 graduation counts are from KDE "Nonacademic Data" briefing packets.  2011 graduate counts from KDE's Average Freshman Graduation Rate reporting, while  2012 through 2014 graduations are from the school report cards.)

--Posted by Susan Perkins Weston

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!