Race to the Top Round Two Finalists Project Improved Graduation Rates

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced the 19 Race to the Top (RTTT) Round Two finalists.  In their applications, states were required to project improvement in achievement and graduation rates and to demonstrate how they plan to meet those projections should they be awarded RTTT funds.

In their applications, states’ graduation rate projections vary widely, with most states committing to at least a 5 percentage point gain by 2014 (see Figure 1 below).[1]  While these estimates may appear conservative, the U.S. Department of Education did call for ambitious, yet achievable goals (emphasis added). In the case of high school graduation, the states’ projections may reflect what is indeed achievable for them, given that improving graduation rates often requires catching students up on credits – which takes time, especially if students are many credits behind what they need to graduate. As a result, it may take time to realize increases in graduation rates that may be a result of RTTT funding.

Figure 1: Four-year Graduation Rate Projections: 19 RTTT Round Two Finalists.

Four-year Graduation Rate Projections

Source: U.S. Department of Education; National High School Center analysis of states’ applications.

Note: States presented baseline data from different years and not all states included baseline and projected data. See table below for details.

The RTTT Request for Proposals required projections to 2014; however, a number of states included projections beyond that date. The table below summarizes projections from baseline, 2014, and beyond.

Table 1: Four-year Graduation Rate Projections: 19 RTTT Round Two Finalists.

 

Baseline

2014 Projection

Long-term Goal (if projected)

Arizona

75% (2008)

82%

93% (2020)

California

68% (2008)

80%

90% (2020)

Colorado

74.6% (2008)

 

90% (2020)

District of Columbia

74.7% (2009)

86%

 

Florida

66% (2009)

85%

 

Georgia

79% (2009)

85%

 

Hawaii

80% (2010)

90%

90% (2018)

Illinois

78.8% (2011)

90%

 

Kentucky

75% (2008)

80%

85% (2020)

Louisiana

67% (2009)

85%

 

Maryland

80% (2009)

 

90% (2020)

Massachusetts

81% (2008)

85%

90% (2016)

New Jersey

TBD[1]

90%

 

New York

71% (2008)

76%

 

North Carolina

71.7% (2009)

82%

 

Ohio

87.2% (2010)

92.4%

 

Pennsylvania

89.9% (2009)

92.7%

94.5% (2019)

Rhode Island

75.5% (2009)

85%

 

South Carolina

74.9% (2010)

88.3%

 

Source: U.S. Department of Education; National High School Center analysis of states’ applications.

In future posts, we will be tracking the status of these applications and discussing various initiatives and states' goals.[2]


[1] New Jersey’s Race to the Top application addressed the subject of graduation rates as such:

“Our graduation rate currently stands at over 90% due to the fact that New Jersey uses a “leaver rate” rather than a more accurate longitudinal cohort method to calculate graduation rates. We expect our inflated graduation rate to drop for the 2010-11 school year because of the change to the longitudinal adjusted-cohort method for calculating graduation rates. However, New Jersey will not reduce our goal of a 90% four-year graduation rate…[We] will set interim goals no later than September 2010.”

[2] Click here to see other parts of the Race To the Top Round Two Finalists series: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

 

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
2 + 6 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.