Four-Year Grad Rates “Leave Off Where the Real Work Begins”

Four-Year Grad Rates “Leave Off Where the Real Work Begins”

November 28, 2018

Learning Policy Institute’s Julie Kessler examines the issue of four-year graduation rates, and how this “seemingly innocuous data point” can have some “harsh consequences.” For example, accountability systems based on four-year graduation rates can “discourage schools from continuing to offer services, support, and courses to students who take longer to earn a diploma.” Instead, she says, “we should be doing everything we can to encourage and support schools in serving their highest need students, not penalizing them for doing so.” Luckily, under ESSA, for the very first time, schools (and districts and states) “have the opportunity to move beyond this narrow definition of success by adding extended-year graduation rates to their accountability systems.” So far, 35 states have done so, “taking an important step in ensuring that every student succeeds.”