When the state released graduation figures earlier this month, I wondered what the city’s old formula for determining graduation rates would have said about the class of 2007. Yesterday, Edwize pointed us to a 276-page report available on the DOE’s website that includes the answer to that question and much, much more.
Although the state’s graduation figure of 52 percent is the official one thanks to an agreement between the city and state last year, the DOE still calculated the graduation rate for the class of 2007 using its old formula, which gave credit for students graduating in August and for students completing a GED or IEP diploma rather than a local or Regents diploma. According to this formula, 62 percent of students entering the city’s high schools in the fall of 2003 graduated on time, an improvement of 2.3 percentage points over the class of 2006.
In the report, the DOE attributes a reduction in the four-year dropout rate — to 13.8 percent, the lowest ever
recorded in the 20 years since the city started keeping these statistics — to a new policy that requires school officials to conduct exit interviews with some students who indicate an intention to drop out. These interviews, during which students must be reminded of their legal right to remain in school until the year in which they turn 21, may have prompted some students to stay in school or to delay graduation, according to the report.
The report contains detailed information about school completion at each of the city’s high schools, including information about the types of diplomas students earned, graduation rates by ethnicity, and outcomes for students in special education. What’s missing from the report is information about what happened to the 26.3 percent of students who entered high school in the fall of 2003 who were “discharged” by the city’s schools “primarily to enroll in another educational program or setting.” They represent nearly twice the number of students who officially dropped out.