WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education, on Monday, released a new report that compares high school graduation rates by state using what it says is a more accurate and common measure.
In Connecticut, according to the report, 83 percent of all students in the class of 2011 graduated. For black students, that number was 71 percent, and for Hispanics, just 64 percent. Meanwhile, 89 percent of white students and 92 percent of Asian students graduated. Eleven states had higher graduation rates than Connecticut and five others were tied at 83 percent overall.
The rates, for the 2010-11 school year, replaces a system that allowed states to use varying methods of defining whether a student graduated. Now the yardstick is consistant but is hard to compare to the old method.
So instead of telling whether the number of students graduating is going up or down, this year, instead, is considered a more accurate “snapshot.”
“By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement that accompanied the report. “Ultimately, these data will help states target support to ensure more students graduate on time, college and career ready.”
In 2011, states began individually reporting 2010-11 high school graduation rates, but this is the first time the Department has compiled these rates in one public document. These 2010-11 graduation rates are preliminary, state-reported data, and the Department plans to release final rates in the coming months. Beginning with data for the 2011-12 school year, graduation rates calculated using this new method will become a key element of state accountability systems, including for states that have been approved for No Child Left Behind flexibility, according to the feds.