New Way to Find MO High School Graduation Rates

Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or DESE, is changing the way it calculates high school graduation rates.

by Nick Gass (Columbia, Mo.)

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is releasing new high school graduation data on Monday. The way the new four-year graduation rate is calculated has changed to accommodate requirements from the U.S. Department of Education. It only counts students who graduate in four years. Leigh Ann Grant-Eagle is DESE’s assistant commissioner of data system management. She says some students may take longer to graduate, but the new rate isn’t comparable to the other one.

“I do think it’s an important rate, because it allows us to compare ourselves to other states in a more comparable way. And we are looking to see what percentage of kids graduate within four years,” Grant-Eagle said.

Grant-Eagle says the new rate will make it easier for Missouri to see how it stacks up against bordering states.

“I know the U.S. Department of Ed is requiring all states to report to them the new four-year rate, and then they will be publishing it, so that we can compare how Missouri is doing to our neighbors in Kansas and in Illinois,” Grant-Eagle said.

DESE’s 2011 report card, due to be released by December 1, will also include the new rate calculations.