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ERIC Number: ED505561
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 36
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Chasing the High School Graduation Rate: Getting the Data We Need and Using It Right. Policy Information Perspective
Barton, Paul E.
Educational Testing Service
This Policy Information Perspective provides a status report on efforts to measure the high school graduation rate more accurately and use it more constructively. The first section of the report discusses obtaining reliable national survey data on the graduation status of young adults and of the population as a whole. The second section makes the case for the need to expand and improve the point-in-time data on high school students in the NCES Common Core of Data (CCD) system and the use of that database for estimating graduation rates. This recognizes how much easier it should be to count students who are in school at any point versus tracking the same students over many years. The third section discusses the longitudinal tracking approach put forward by the National Governors Association and others, an approach that requires tracking the same students from entry into high school through graduation or school leaving. The report provides examples of past experiences in longitudinal designs, the problems encountered and addressed, and the unique requirements of using data for school accountability compared with other approaches, such as those addressed in sections one and two that strive to learn how many people do not graduate regardless of why they dropped out. The fourth section discusses the knowledge base about the antecedents of dropping out of school and its importance in making decisions about using a graduation rate in a sanctions-based accountability system. The fifth section provides an assessment of what is presently known about high school graduation rates and the changes. that have occurred over the past 40 years. The author concludes a need for increased investment in the national Census Bureau survey that reports what percentage of the population has graduated from high school, for different age groups and different subgroups of the population. Improvement is also recommended in data collected from the states and maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on enrollment and diplomas awarded. (Contains 3 tables, 2 figures and 43 footnotes.)
Educational Testing Service. Rosedale Road Mailstop 19R, Princeton, NJ 08541-0001. Tel: 609-921-9000; Fax: 609-734-5410; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Educational Testing Service