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April 2013 Vol. 20. No. 5 Focus on Getting to Graduation

Theme articles

School-by-school graduation rates

By the Notebook on Mar 28, 2013 01:13 PM

Understanding the rates

There are different ways to calculate graduation rates. The four-year cohort graduation rates provided by the School District track each school’s first-time 9th graders from fall 2008 (the cohort) through their high school years and measure what percentage earned their diploma by fall 2012. 

Under this system, students count as graduates or dropouts at the schools where they enrolled for the first time as 9th graders, even if they transferred to another public school here. Students who move out of the District (for example, to another city) are excluded from the rate calculations. 

The School District’s system has been used in Philadelphia since 2006 and has been endorsed by the city and community partners. Using this method discourages a school from pushing students to transfer. It accounts for the importance of 9th grade by attributing students to the school where they start that year. 

Pennsylvania calculates the cohort graduation rate in a different way. Graduates are attributed to the school where they finished rather than the school where they started high school. Under this method, a school’s rate is not affected by a student who transfers out and then drops out, and it gets credit for a student who transfers in and then graduates. A school’s results can vary widely depending on the method used.

Comments (33)

Submitted by center65 (not verified) on March 28, 2013 4:38 pm
So what does this data mean? I believe that the rigor and expectations for graduation are different for every high school. The only conclusion that I can draw is that charters aren't any better than traditional high schools.
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Submitted by center65 (not verified) on March 28, 2013 4:14 pm
Graduation rates according to (Philadelphia Schools Partnership): MaST 83% Math, Civics, Sciences 100% CHAD 93% Delaware Valley 100% New Media 55% Prep Charter 100% Esperanza 92% Philadelphia Academy 97% Mastery Shoemaker 98% Mastery Lenfest 86% Mult-Cultural Academy 97% Maritime Academy 65% PET 97% Imhotep 94% Palmer N/A Mastery Thomas 84% Freire 84% Phila Community Academy 85% Boys Latin 99% Mastery Pickett N/A Mariana Bracetti 91% World Communications 41% Truebright 98% Hope 60% Now that we have both sets of data, we can draw conclusions about 'counseling out' and accountability.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 29, 2013 6:00 pm
So the Charter school resutls look quite different here, doncha think? @@
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Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 29, 2013 12:16 am
I thought that Lameberton had a 100% graduation rate. At least that's what all of the pro-Lamberton speakers were saying at the school closing meeting at Overbrook high school.... Education Grad Student
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 29, 2013 5:06 pm
EGS- Again his shows how little you know about the real world. What do you expect pro Lamberton people to say?
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Submitted by RB425 (not verified) on March 29, 2013 10:56 am
This information would be useful from a visual standpoint if you lined up the graduation % for the charters and public schools. There are 8 schools that outperform the scores from MC&S and the rest of the charters fall in the same range as the public schools. The average graduation rate (%) of public schools is 66.9% and for charters it is 74.9%. Add the standard deviations of these averages and there are statistically no differences. Many parents send their students to charters only to have them kicked out and send right back to the school where they started, or at least this has been the experience in the high school where I teach, which is in the bottom 20 on the list.
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