Connecticut's graduation rate showed a slight improvement in 2010, but nearly one in five students still did not finish high school in four years, according to data released this week by the state’s Department of Education.
The graduation rates are worse for Hispanic, black, poor (those eligible for free or reduced-price lunches), special education and English language learner students, with about 1 in 3 unable to earn a standard diploma within four years. In contrast, the rates for white, Asian and students not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch were much better.
The table in the pdf above shows details of this data from the education department.
In Meriden, the high school graduation rate is 77.6 percent for all students, though it jumps to 100 percent for Asian students but drops to 72.6 percent for black students.
Statewide, the graduation gap clearly indicates that state and local education officials need to do more to help poor and minority students succeed, said Stefan Pryor, Connecticut’s education commissioner.
“The statewide graduation rate gap in Connecticut subgroup populations mandates that we begin identifying exemplary schools that model preparation and success for students in our lower-performing communities,” Pryor said. “From the local level to the state level, we must redouble our efforts to graduate the next generation of leaders on time all of the time.”
To determine the 2010 four-year graduation rate, the Department analyzed individual data from 44,461 students. The analysis revealed that, 8,092 students, or 18.2 percent, failed to complete high school in four years. That is down from a preliminary rate of 20.7 percent in 2009, a difference of about 1,000 students.
This was the second year the rate has been calculated using a more accurate method prescribed under the No Child Left Behind/Elementary and Secondary Education Act four-year cohort graduation rate calculation rules. Before 2009, the Department had to estimate the rate from dropout data and self-reported aggregate graduate data. Now, by using student-level data from the state’s public school information system, the Department is able to track individual students longitudinally from the time they enter ninth-grade through to graduation. This method is more accurate for calculating the school, district and state graduation rates and provides a uniform system across the state.
The 18.2 percent of students who missed the four-year graduation target in 2010 includes 6.1 percent who are still enrolled and 0.4 percent who were “non-completers” and received a certificate of attendance. The remaining 11.7 percent did not graduate, were not still enrolled, or did not receive a certificate of attendance. It should also be noted that about one-fifth of all students with disabilities ages 18-21 remain enrolled in public education even though they have completed the requirements for a high school diploma within four years. These students continue their enrollment to maintain eligibility for transition services designed to help students move from high school into postsecondary activities.
"These numbers underscore the importance of creating the pathways and partnerships needed to make being ready for college possible for a greater number of our state's students," said Board of Regents of Higher Education President Robert Kennedy. "This won't happen overnight, but reviewing this data enables us to drill down and see where we need to do more to prepare our students for a college degree or a trade. I'm eager to work with Commissioner Pryor to make this a reality."
The four-year graduation rate varies widely across the state. Ten districts—Bolton, Cromwell, Guilford, Madison, Monroe, New Canaan, Ridgefield, Weston, and Regional School Districts 17 and 18—exceeded 95 percent in 2010. Six districts—Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, New London and Norwich—had rates lower than 65 percent.
“We refuse to accept the notion that some students will not graduate from high school prepared for college and career.” Commissioner Pryor said. “The economic and social costs are too great. We can and must do better.”
For details on four-year graduation rates by district and school, please visit these websites: http://www.csde.state.ct.us/public/cedar/GraduationRates/byDistrict.xls, http://www.csde.state.ct.us/public/cedar/GraduationRates/BySchool.xls.