SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 29, 2013

Column: Is Salem High School on the right track?

On Feb. 25, Principal Dave Angeramo and I, on behalf of the faculty and staff of Salem High School, presented a five-year (2008-2012) summary of Salem High School’s graduation rate, dropout rate and postsecondary going rate to the Salem School Committee. A copy of the PowerPoint presentation is available online on the SHS guidance website.

Graduation rate

To put into proper perspective, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education calculates and reports out on graduation rates. They utilize two different formulas to determine four- and five-year cohort graduation rates for each district and a four- and five-year adjusted graduation rate for each district.

For the Class of 2012, the four-year cohort graduation rate is calculated as:

The number of students in the cohort (denominator)

The number of first-time entering ninth-graders in 2008-2009 minus transfers out plus adding transfers

This means that any student who would have been a first-time entering ninth-grader in 2008-2009 who transfers into Salem High School regardless of credits earned is considered part of that cohort.

The 2012 four-year adjusted graduation rate is calculated as:

The number of students in the cohort (denominator) who graduate in four years or less

The number of first-time entering ninth-graders in 2008-2009 minus transfers out

The major difference between the two cohort calculations is that the adjusted graduation rate reflects only those students who started at Salem High School in the fall of 2008.

The five-year graduation rate and adjusted graduation rate are calculated with the same formula over five years.

When reviewing results, it is important to keep in mind that one year in and of itself is not necessarily an indication of overall results or lack of results. Looking at it from a longitudinal perspective gives a clearer picture of trends and whether we are on the right track.

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