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Susanne Smith, 503-947-5637

April 26, 2011

Two out of Three Oregon Students Graduate Within Four Years

High school dropout rate remains flat at 3.4%

Tualatin, Ore. – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced at a press conference at Tualatin High School today that 66 percent of last year’s seniors graduated within four years. This rate describes the percent of graduates among cohorts, or groups, of students by following those students through high school and determining which of the students achieved a regular high school diploma within four years. This year’s report describes the graduation rates for students who first entered high school in 2006-07. Students who receive a modified diploma, GED, adult high school diploma, or alternative certificate are considered non-graduates in the cohort graduation calculation. This year, the Oregon Department of Education also describes the percent of students who graduate within five years to capture those students who needed additional time to complete graduation requirements. Sixty-nine percent of students who entered high school in 2005-06 graduated within five years. Click here PDF for statewide cohort graduation information.

“One-third of Oregon high school seniors did not graduate on time last year,” said State Superintendent Susan Castillo. “These rates are even more alarming for our poor and minority students. We are asking more of our students, raising the bar to ensure they are prepared for college and career, but we also need to do more to support our struggling learners. That is the only way we will see real change in our graduation rates. And we must see change. We simply can’t afford for one third of our seniors to be unprepared for their futures.”

2009-10 cohort graduation rates at-a-glance:

Student Group 4 year rate (2006-07 cohort) 5 year rate (2005-06 cohort)
All Students
66.4% 69.1%
Native American
Students with Disabilities
English Language Learner
Economically Disadvantaged

Enhanced accountability system
The most recent cohort is made up of the students who first entered high school in 2006-07. The cohort is adjusted for students who move into or out of the system. 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 adjusted cohort.

The cohort rate provides additional clarity on where each student ends up after four years in high school and sets higher expectations for Oregon’s schools and students. The Oregon Department of Education instituted the new reporting system two years ago to establish a more accurate measure of high school graduation. It informs school improvement efforts by providing greater transparency on student progression through high school. School districts use the longitudinal data provided by the cohort to identify students who require additional assistance or targeted interventions to earn a diploma and graduate.

Tigard-Tualatin School District finding success for students
Tigard-Tualatin School District has created a successful combination of interventions and supports for their students and their 81 percent graduation rate proves it. The rising poverty and minority rates in many Tigard-Tualatin schools mirror the statewide average. However, their graduation rate is 15 percentage points higher than the statewide rate. The district has partnered with the Oregon Department of Education to provide training and technical assistance to other districts around the state on Response to Intervention – a system that catches students before they fail. Metzger, Bridgeport, and Tualatin Elementary schools have all received state recognition for their outstanding work toward closing the achievement gap and are models for how to target existing resources to better deliver student achievement results.

Dropout rates remain unchanged
Oregon’s 2009-10 dropout rate is 3.4 percent, unchanged from 2008-09. Oregon uses a one-year dropout calculation for accountability purposes, as required by federal law. The dropout rate is not the inverse of the graduation rate. The definition for a dropout differs from a non-graduate and therefore the rates are not compatible. Dropouts do not include students who are deceased; are enrolled in an alternative school or hospital education program; are enrolled in a juvenile detention facility; are enrolled in a foreign exchange program; are temporarily absent because of suspension, a family emergency, or severe health problems that prevent attendance at school; received a GED certificate; or received an adult high school diploma from a community college. Click here for details on the 2009-10 dropout rate.

2009-10 dropout rates by student group:

Student Group 2009-10 2008-09
All Students
3.4% 3.4%
6.2 %6.1%
Native American
Students with Disabilities
English Language Learner
Economically Disadvantaged

“Our state’s economic health, now more than ever, depends on ensuring more high school students graduate prepared for college and careers,” said Castillo. “I am encouraged that Governor Kitzhaber has focused on education reform as a key strategy for economic growth. We know that the path to graduation starts in a child’s early years and targeted early childhood investments for our disadvantaged students are critical to closing the achievement gap and increasing our high school and college graduation rates.”

For an audio clip of Superintendent Susan Castillo, go to:http://video.orvsd.org/ode/4-26-11-grad-release.MP3

• For school district cohort graduation data go to: www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=2644
• For dropout data go to: www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=1
• To access an FAQ on the cohort graduation rate go to: http://www.ode.state.or.us/superintendent/priorities/cohort-faq0910.pdf PDF

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Susanne Smith, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5637

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310-0203

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