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Questions about Oklahoma's graduation rates

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Are more Oklahoma students dropping out than the state is reporting? That's the question a national education watchdog group is asking in a new study released on Thursday.

The Education Trust says many states, including Oklahoma, might not be reporting accurate numbers when it comes to graduation rates.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims says it’s a hot button issue in the debate over high school reform. How many students are actually leaving high school with a diploma and how many are just leaving?

Every state has to report its graduation rates to the federal government as a requirement of the federal No Child Left Behind Law. But the Education Trust, a non-profit education watchdog group says the numbers states are reporting might not be. The study had this to say about Oklahoma.

The state reported a graduation rate of 86 percent in the 2002-2003 school year to the federal government. The Education Trust used an independent analysis of 2001 data and came up with a graduation rate of 70 percent, a difference of 16 percentage points. Now, the numbers are not an exact comparison, because the data is from two different years. But Education Trust says graduation data does not change drastically from year to year. So they claim it’s still a fair comparison.

How did the Education Trust come up with its numbers? The Education Trust used a method called CPI, which compares the number of 10th graders, for example, with the number of 9th graders the previous year. Each grade level is calculated to come up with an estimated graduation rate.

The problem with this method is, its not clear if it takes into account students who may have transferred from one school to another, instead of dropping out.
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