Graduating from high school results in a lifetime of higher pay. 80% of Alabama’s students who entered high school in the fall of 2009 graduated in the spring of 2013.
State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice shared the good news about Alabama’s graduation rate, the highest ever, during the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget hearings in January.
Bice has said many times that the goal is to keep the trajectory moving northeast, meaning all students are improving. Here’s a look at the total number of high schools that have moved from each category of graduation rate…..northeast.
It appears that Bice’s goal is being met.
Yes, 80% is a record. It is also a 5% improvement over the spring 2012 numbers. But it still means that for every five students that start high school as ninth graders, one will not finish in 4 years.
Will that one go on to graduate after a fifth year? We don’t know yet. The 5-year cohort graduation rate will be calculated and made available beginning with this year’s graduating class.
Also, no data is being released regarding the progress of students by subgroup (by race, ethnicity, poverty status, or special education status). That data will not be made easily available until after this year’s students graduate.
2013 Graduation Rates Across Alabama
Here are spring 2013 graduation rates across Alabama’s school districts (remember: this is the percentage of students that started ninth grade in 2009 and graduated from high school in the spring of 2013).
If you click on this link, it will open a new window. Use the “+” and “-” buttons to zoom in. Zooming is helpful, particularly in areas such as Jefferson County, where many city school systems have been formed out of the county system. Here’s a link to the ALSDE’s list of all high schools’ graduation rates for 2013. Spreadsheets of all data are linked at the end of this post.
Here’s a look at how those graduation rates have improved, or not, since 2011. Click this link to open the map in a new window.
Plan 2020 Goals for Graduation Rates
Plan 2020, Alabama’s strategic plan for improving education across the state, contains goals for graduation rates. Here are the goals through 2016:
The ninth grade failure rate is also being measured at a statewide level. Plan 2020 sets a goal for that as well:
These are statewide goals.
Each school and school district will have its own graduation rate goal, known as Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) established as part of the School Performance Index and District Performance Index established under the ESEA waiver received last June. Four- and 5-year graduation rate AMOs will be set for each school and district. The AMOs will be set in annual equal increments toward a goal of reducing by half the percentage of students in the “all student” group and in each subgroup who are not proficient within six years.
Saving the calculations for another post.
Good News and Bad News
What do these graduation rates mean?
The Good News: the herd is moving northeast.
The Bad News: 17 of Alabama’s high schools saw a decline of 10% or more in their high school graduation rate. And one in five of Alabama’s high school students didn’t graduate from high school last spring.
Other questions remain: what does graduating from high school mean? What kind of job does it mean you are qualified to hold? Does it mean you’re ready for college?
If you’d like the data for school districts only, here’s that spreadsheet.