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ERIC Number: EJ849017
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-0013-175X
Dropping the Ball on Dropouts
Phelps, Richard P.
Educational Horizons, v87 n3 p169-181 Spr 2009
The U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has measured various types of high school graduation, completion, and dropout rates for decades. In 2006, NCES was directed by senior managers in the Education Department to reduce use of its standard graduation and completion rate measures and instead promote the previously obscure "averaged freshman graduation rate" (AFGR). The AFGR is an "on time" completion measure. In this article, the author discusses the origins of the current preference for an "on-time" graduation rate and the widespread acceptance of the AFGR by policymakers despite its abundant flaws which raises some troubling questions. For example, does exaggerating a problem through semantic distortion help to solve the problem, or does it misdirect attention, misplace priorities, and obfuscate public policy? Further, should education policies be based on the work of those who attract the most publicity or those with the greatest expertise? The author argues two most critical threats to the quality of education in the United States that stand out for their neglect from the press and policymakers. First, much high-quality information and expertise on education policy topics are never seen or heard by policymakers, while too much poor-quality and biased misinformation is. Second, American students arguably do not have to work as hard as students in many other countries, and current public policies in effect support that lack of effort. (Contains 2 figures and 9 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: High Schools; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A