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OSSE Releases District High School Graduation Rates

Thursday, November 8, 2012

OSSE Releases District High School Graduation Rates

Combined 2011-2012 Results Show Significant Gains among Low-Income and Special-Needs Students in Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The District’s high school graduation rates for the Class of 2012 increased 2 percent as compared to the 2010-2011 school year, according to results released today by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Results are calculated using US Department of Education criteria and are statewide, representing both DC Public Schools (DCPS) and Public Charter Schools (DCPCS).

“I am pleased to publicize our steady advancement in DC public high school graduation rates,” Mayor Gray said. “Ensuring a high-quality public education for all of our students has been one of my administration’s top priorities, and these graduation rates show real progress.”

As calculated by the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR), which is required by the US Department of Education, 61 percent of DC students graduated from high school with a regular diploma within a four-year period in 2011-2012, compared to 59 percent during the 2010-2011 academic year. The 2010-2011 academic year was the first time the District used the ACGR computation. Overall, 21 out of 44 DC schools had rates above the state average, with 10 schools graduating over 80 percent of their 2011-2012 cohort class.

Additionally, graduation rates for economically disadvantaged District high school students improved 13 percent in 2011-2012. Specialized education graduation rates from the District’s Class of 2012 also grew 9 percent, with both subgroups measured under the ACGR criteria.

“This year’s graduation results are indicative of our continued efforts to reach disadvantaged students throughout the District of Columbia, regardless of income or disability,” said State Superintendent of Education Hosanna Mahaley Jones, noting that District high school seniors reached five-year highs in 2012 ACT composite scores and participation and improved in ACT college-readiness benchmarks in English, reading, math and science over 2011. “While we certainly have a steep road ahead, our investments in public education are moving in the right direction.”

Under the ACGR assessment method, students who were first-time 9th graders in 2008–2009 were identified as a “cohort” and compared against the total number of students who graduated on a four-year, on-time schedule in 2011-2012. Students who transferred, obtained a GED, emigrated, passed away or graduated outside the four-year control period were removed from the equation, and students who transferred in during any of the cohort’s four years in high school were added. The total numbers of graduates were then divided by the cohort number.

Mahaley Jones also cited the District’s new school accountability system, which correlates Pre-K participation to large gains in overall early-grade proficiency on the 2012 DC Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS), and a five-year high in DC CAS scores as examples of solutions underway to raise the levels of student achievement. In 2012, the District’s high school students also reached five-year highs in both participation and performance on nationally standardized tests including the PSAT, Advanced Placement (AP) exam and SAT Subject Tests, according to an 2011-2012 State Integrated Summary report released last month by the College Board.

A complete description of the US Department of Education Adjusted Cohort Rate calculation method, OSSE’s Overall Graduation Rate Chart and an illustration of OSSE’s Adjusted Cohort Graduation calculation are available for download online at www.osse.dc.gov.

Charts illustrating the graduation rates are attached.