Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

May 14, 2013

Indiana’s high school grad rate continues upward

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s reported high school graduation rate continues to improve, moving from 77 percent to more than 88 percent in less than a decade, but there are still significant achievement gaps marked by race and income.  

On Monday, the Indiana Department of Education released the graduation rates for all Indiana public and charter high schools for the 2011-12 school year. Statewide, the graduation rate is slightly over 88 percent, up from just less than 87 percent for the 2010-11 school year. Five years ago, the high graduation rate was just less than 78 percent.

The numbers show that students who are black, Hispanic or low-income still have lower graduation rates than students who are white and more affluent. Just more than 90 percent of white students graduated on-time from Indiana high schools last year, while 77 percent of black students and 84 percent of Hispanic students did.

The data released Monday also show that high schools across Indiana vary widely in their use of graduation waivers, which allow students to get their diplomas without having to pass the state’s required end-of-course assessment tests in math and English.

Of the 63,861 students who graduated from high school in the 2011-12 school year, almost 9 percent — or 5,723 students — were granted waivers so they could graduate. But in some schools, the percent reached as high as 30 percent.

Even if you exclude the waivers, and only count the students who graduated by passing the required tests, the graduation rates are still up: Just over 80 percent in 2011-12 compared to 78.1 percent in 2010-11.

The graduation rates were released without any comment from Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, a Democrat who took over as the state’s top schools chief in January, after defeating Republican incumbent Tony Bennett. Bennett had made improving Indiana’s graduation rate one of the top goals of his administration.

David Galvin, the communications manager for the Indiana Department of Education, said Ritz was still reviewing the numbers.

High school graduation rates play a critical role in how schools and school districts are evaluated by the state under its A-to-F grading system put into place in 2011.

The state gives every school and every school district a letter grade based on several metrics, including test scores and graduation rates. Public schools with low grades run the risk of being taken over by the state, while public schools with high grades are positioned to get more state funding.

In the future, schools may find it more difficult to issue waivers to boost their graduation rates. Legislation that passed in the session that ended in April will require the DOE to scrutinize schools with higher waiver rates more closely, and students that are given waivers will have a tougher time qualifying for state aid to pay for college.

House Education Chairman Bob Behning, R-Noblesville, said the waiver information is critical to assessing the graduation rate, especially for individual schools.

“As a state, we’ve definitely been pushing to get our graduation rates up,” said Behning. “But we know there are individual schools that are granting too many waivers.”

The data released Monday shows the overall graduation rate for the state’s public high schools has continued to increase since the 2006-07 school year, with many schools in affluent districts showing graduation rates above the 90 percent mark.

Meanwhile, the overall graduation rates for non-public schools has dipped slightly: from just under 93 percent in 2006-07 to just less than 92 percent in 2011-12. (The DOE did not have the individual graduation rates for the non-public schools posted Monday.)

Some schools saw significant decreases in their graduation from last year: only 59 percent of high school students in the Gary Community Schools graduated on time in 2012, down from 67 percent the year before. Indianapolis Public Schools saw a drop from 69 percent in 2011 to 65 percent in 2012.

In releasing the state graduation rate of 88 percent on Monday, the DOE also released a second graduation rate, as calculated using a formula devised by the federal Department of Education. Under the federal DOE formula, Indiana’s graduation rate is 87 percent for the 2011-12 school year.

The state DOE and federal DOE use slightly different reporting requirements in how they track the number of students who enroll in a high school as freshmen and remain there until they graduate.  

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Clinton coming to eastern Kentucky to stump for Grimes

    By RONNIE ELLIS
    CNHI News Service

    GLASGOW — Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 27, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks