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  • 29 Aug 2014

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Madison High School's big gains leads PPS grad rates

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Portland Public Schools' graduation rates came in at a 63 percent four-year cohort rate for all students overall, just 1 percent more than last year, according to a new state report.New graduation rate data for Portland Public Schools shows big gains for blacks and Hispanics, as well as an eight-point jump for all students at Madison High School.

Madison’s four-year cohort graduation rate (meaning for students who first entered high school in 2008-09 and were expected to graduate in 2012) saw a 16-point gain from two years ago, now at 71 percent.

Madison also appears to have closed the achievement gap, at least for Hispanic students. White students in the cohort had a graduation rate of 71 percent, compared to 80 percent for Hispanics — a 30-point gain from last year. Blacks came in at 52 percent, a three-point rise from last year.

Districtwide, there wasn’t such stark change.

Portland Public Schools came in at a 63 percent four-year cohort rate for all students overall, just 1 percent more than last year.

For white students, it was 67 percent (no change from last year), Hispanics 54 percent (a five-point gain) and blacks 52 percent (a three-point drop).

Here’s how the other schools did: Franklin shot up six points to 78 percent; Grant rose two points to 84 percent; Jefferson jumped three points to 58 percent; Lincoln remained at 89 percent; Wilson climbed six points to 84 percent.

Cleveland dropped four points to 76 percent; and Benson dropped four points to 82 percent.

At the time Roosevelt's cohort began high school, Roosevelt was still split into three academies. The new data shows improved graduation rates at two of the three.

The ACT academy jumped six points to 59 percent; POWER rose five points to 63 percent; and SEIS (the Spanish English International School) dropped three points to 48 percent.

The data for the district’s alternative and charter schools shows a much bleaker picture.

Alliance High School, with 233 students split between three campuses (Benson, Madison and Meek), landed a 20 percent cohort graduation rate, up 5 points from last year and double the rate from four years ago.

In the cohort of 110 Alliance students, 23 received their regular diploma, 25 dropped out and half the class — 53 — remained for a fifth year.

The 447-student Metropolitan Learning Center, a K-12 school in Northwest Portland, enrolls 138 students in grades 9-12. The cohort graduation rate was 81 percent four years ago but has been declining steadily, now at 63 percent.

There is no data for black, Hispanic, multi-racial, Asian/Pacific Islander or American Indian/Native American students at MLC because there are fewer than six students in each of those groups.

The 330-student LEP (Leadership and Entrepreneurship) charter school on East Burnside Street fell to a rate of 21 percent, down three points from last year.

And Trillium, a North Portland charter school, saw a two-point gain from last year, at 55 percent. That's three points less than Jefferson Advanced Middle College, just around the corner.

According to the Oregon Department of Education the "cohort" is adjusted for students who move into or out of the system, emigrate to another country, or are deceased.

The cohort graduation rate is calculated by taking the number of students in the cohort who graduated with a regular diploma within four years and dividing that by the total number of students in the cohort.

Statewide, the results were also mixed.

Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton on Thursday announced that Oregon’s four-year graduation rate for 2012 was 68.4 percent, up only slightly from the previous year’s rate of 67.6 percent.

The state also saw a slight increase in the dropout rate, with 3.4 percent of students dropping out of high school last year as compared to an all-time low of 3.3 percent the year before.

The results provide baseline data for tracking progress toward the state’s “40-40-20” goal, which calls for 100 percent high school completion by the year 2025.