- Graduation Rate: KSDE continues to use the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, which calculates the number of students graduating with a regular high-school diploma within four years divided by the total number of students who were eligible to graduate. This calculation takes into consideration students moving into and out of the school or district and other factors that could impact the “on-time” graduation rate.
- Success Rate: The success rate is defined as the number of students enrolled in a postsecondary institution and/or who earned a postsecondary degree or certificate or an industry recognized certificate within two years of high school graduation divided by the number of students who graduated from high school. KSDE determined where students went after graduation because they purchased the rights to use the National Student Clearinghouse data for Kansas. The Clearinghouse data, though not perfect, is the best available data on students as they move from high school into the postsecondary system.
- Effective Rate: The effective rate combines the Graduation and Success rates (by multiplying them together) to indicate overall effectiveness in graduating students and getting them into a postsecondary education program.
- They created a five-year average. KSDE calculated the three measures for the most recent five years for which data was available, and then averaged them. This is important because it shows how a school or district has been doing in recent history instead of providing a single snapshot of performance.
- They predicted district and school performance based on external factors and compared the prediction to actual performance. This second point is the real key to this data’s effectiveness and utility to districts. We will talk more about this piece below.
A couple of years ago when KASB was looking for ways to expand our annual Report Card comparing Kansas to other states, we came up with the concept of a “high impact state,” which we defined as a state that had better student outcomes than what would have been predicted based on a variety of demographic factors, such as student poverty, percent of students in special education and ELL programs, median household income, population density, and adult educational attainment.
Research shows the strongest predictors of student success are often those outside of the control of the state education system. To “level the playing field,” KASB controlled for these external factors by creating a regression equation that would predict each state’s performance based on these factors, then seeing how each state’s actual performance compared to their predicted performance. Those states noticeably above the line were considered higher impact, and those noticeably below the line were considered low impact.
- Cumulative poverty: The proportion of the students’ school years spent in poverty. A school year in which the student spent some time eligible for free lunch was weighted more heavily than a year when a student spent some time eligible for reduced-price lunch.
- Student mobility: The number of times these students changed schools during a school year.
- Chronic absenteeism: The count of student years in which students missed at least 10 days or more in at least one school.
- Expulsion and suspension rates: Total district count of expulsion and suspension events from 2012 through 2015.