ERIC Number: ED514437
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Diploma Dilemma: Rising Standards, the Regents Diploma, and Schools that Beat the Odds
Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc.
The ominous prediction is that New York City eighth-graders in the 2010 cohort will enter high school only slightly better prepared than the 2004 cohort to meet the Regents-diploma requirements. Their challenge will likely be compounded by higher Regents examination standards. Without widespread implementation of effective strategies to assist students below the standards in meeting Regents-diploma requirements, many will not graduate. As the number of young adults who are unprepared for college and employment increases, so too will rates of unemployment and incarceration and a continuing cycle of poverty and illiteracy. This study reveals that New York City high schools with similar students vary dramatically in their ability to help those students graduate, particularly with Regents diplomas. The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) divided the city's high schools into four groups based on eighth-grade reading and math scores; in schools that enroll students with very significant academic challenges, for instance, the on-time graduation rate ranges from 34.2 to 90.1 percent. The rate of students in these schools earning Regents diplomas, which signify adequate preparation for college or the workplace, ranges from 0 to 83.3 percent. Among all students first entering ninth grade in 2004, 60.6 percent graduated on time in 2008. Only 42.6 percent of students first entering ninth grade in 2004, earned a Regents diploma. CFE also found that the students entering high school least likely to graduate, with or without a Regents diploma, have poor eighth grade reading and math skills, limited English proficiency, disabilities, irregular attendance, or are overage. Notably, a student's attendance is more closely associated with whether he or she graduates than any other eighth-grade variable. The study shows that the city's high schools vary radically in the extent to which they enroll students who are less likely to graduate. Some schools enroll no students with serious academic deficiencies in reading or math; in other schools the majority of students have such deficiencies. Some schools have large percentages of students with disabilities or English language learners, others have none. Appendices include: (1) Comparison of 2004 Cohort Graduation Rates in August 2008 and June 2009; (2) Challenge Group List; (3) Assignment of Schools to Challenge Groups; (4) Schools with the Highest Percentages of the 2004 Cohort Earning Regents Diplomas by August 2008; and (5) Selection Methods Used by New York City High Schools in 2004. (Contains 18 tables and 13 footnotes.) [Funding for this paper was provided by the Donors Educational Collaborative and the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation.]
Descriptors: State Standards, Academic Standards, Urban Schools, Student Diversity, Attendance, Predictor Variables, Graduation Rate, High Schools, Graduation, Second Language Learning, English (Second Language), Grade 8, Grade 9
Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. 110 William Street Suite 2602, New York, NY 10038. Tel: 212-867-8455; Fax: 212-867-8460; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.cfequity.org
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 8; Grade 9; Secondary Education
Sponsor: Booth Ferris Foundation, New York, NY.; New York Community Trust; Robert Sterling Clark Foundation; Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation
Authoring Institution: Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc.
Identifiers - Location: New York