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Local graduation rates are well above state norm

Less than 1 percent of students dropped out of school district in 2012


It comes at no surprise, but students in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District graduate at higher percentages compared to students statewide, according to data released by the Oregon Department of Education.

District officials said graduation rates are a tribute to it’s continued commitment to children.

“We just continue to stick to our mission and our goal to support all children,” Deputy Superintendent Jane Stickney said. “Our teachers and principals are working very hard to help all children excel in high school.”

The data examined graduation rates based on the number of students who received a regular high school diploma within four or five years of entering high school. Students who received a GED, modified diploma, extended diploma or adult high school diploma within that timeframe are counted in completer rates, however, not graduation rates.

Oregon’s graduation grades are measured by a cohort model, which is a formula required by the federal government to calculate nationwide graduation rates. This year’s report focuses on the 2008-09 cohort, meaning students who first entered high school in the 2008-09 school year and were expected to graduate in spring of 2012.

The cohort is adjusted for students who move into or out of the system. The 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. However some students take longer than four years to complete graduation requirements. In recognition of this, ODE calculates both a four-year rate and a five-year rate.

Graduation rates decreased slightly across the board in the district. According to 2012 data:

  • 88.53 percent of students graduated in four years, down slightly from 89.12 percent

  • 93.20 percent of students at West Linn High School graduated in four years, down from 94.43 percent

  • 84.96 percent of students at Wilsonville High School graduated in four years, down from 84.71 percent

  • 53.85 percent of students at Arts and Technology High School graduated in four years, down from 61.54 percent

    Students also received completer degrees (e.g., GEDs, modified diplomas) in the district. According to 2012 data, 91.87 percent of students in the district received a completer degree in four years. Data was not provided for the previous year.

    Stickney said the variance in data is due to differences in each class.

    “Our strategies, if anything, have intensified,” she said.

    Graduation rates improved across the district, however, when examining five-year cohort graduation rates. According to 2012 data:

  • 90.58 percent of students in the district graduated in five years, up from 87.57 percent

  • 62.96 percent of students at Arts and Technology High School graduated in five years, up from 52.63 percent

  • 95.98 percent of students at West Linn High School graduated within five years, up from 91.37 percent

  • 85.99 percent of students at Wilsonville High School graduated within five years, up from 85.66 percent

    Students also receive completer degrees in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District in five years. According to data for 2012, 94.38 percent of students in the district received a completer degree within five years. Data was not provided for the previous year.

    “Staying and finishing up high school in a fifth year has become more of an option for kids,” Stickney said. “We work hard to help them realize that that’s OK and we will support them if they need to stay.”

    Statewide comparison

    Oregon’s graduation rates increased slightly statewide in both cohorts. According to 2012 data:

  • 68.4 percent of students graduated within four years, up from 67.6 percent

  • 72.4 percent of students graduated within five years, up from 70.9 percent.

    Students across Oregon also received completer degrees. According to 2012 data, 75.07 percent of Oregon students received a completer degree in four years and 80.55 percent of students received a completer degree within five years. Data for the previous year was not provided for either cohort.

    “We currently have a 68 percent four-year high school graduation rate and an 80 percent five-year completer rate,” ODE Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton said. “All of the education reform work our state is currently undertaking is tied to dramatically increasing these numbers and better preparing our students for their next steps.”

    While comparisons can be made at the school, district and statewide level, it is difficult to compare Oregon’s graduation rates to other states.

    “All states are required to produce a cohort graduation rate but what a student needs to do to in order to earn that diploma varies from state to state,” ODE Communications Director Crystall Greene said. “Some states also have slightly different formulas for calculating the cohort rate, making it difficult to compare rates between states.”

    In addition to federal tracking requirements, ODE measures graduation rates to track the state’s progress toward the 2011 legislature adopted 40-40-20 goal. Under this goal, the state is aiming for a 100 percent high school completion rate by 2025.

    “This year, we welcomed the graduating class of 2025 into our kindergartens,” Saxton said. “As a state, we have committed to an ambitious vision for education ... our current system just isn’t getting us there.

    Drop out rates

    Less than 1 percent of students in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District dropped out in 2012, according to data release by the Oregon Department of Education.

    A total of 18 students dropped out in the district — one student from Arts and Technology High School; five students from West Linn High School; and 10 students from Wilsonville High School. Twenty students dropped out of the district the previous year.

    “We work hard with each child to create a positive learning environment , to resolve barriers and to keep children on a winning streak in school,” said Deputy Superintendent Jane Stickney. “Children who are doing well are not generally the children who are at risk. ... Teachers will intervene and adjust strategies whenever a child isn’t doing well.”

    Stickney said the school district pays particular attention to “times of transition” in students' academic careers such as entering sixth and ninth grade.

    “These are key times for children to get off on a good start or seek out additional resources,” she added.

    Oregon state saw a slight increase in the dropout rate, with 3.4 percent of students dropping out of high school in 2012 as compared to an all-time low of 3.3 percent the year before.

    A dropout is defined as a student who withdrew from school and did not graduate or transfer to another diploma granting school.

    The dropout rate is not, however, the inverse of the graduation rate. The definition for a dropout differs from a non-graduate and therefore the rates are not compatible.




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