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Many factors play role in scholastic success

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Accountablity standards include factors such as attendance, dropout rates

By Ron Benningfield

Success in school is measured by more than grades. It includes non-academic data – results from attendance, retention, dropout, graduation and successful transition to adult life.

These factors made up the non-academic component of the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System. Though CATS accountability has ended, much of this information is used in the No Child Left Behind federal accountability.

Data from the 2007-08 school year show that Kentucky’s public school students had higher graduation rates than those in the 2006-07 school year while dropout rates increased slightly during the same time period.

The state’s graduation rate increased from 83.72 percent in 2007 to 84.52 percent in 2008. LaRue County High School’s graduation rate for 2008 was 95.81 percent. The rate is the percentage of students entering a high school in the ninth grade that graduate in four years.

Kentucky began reporting graduation rate data with the 2000-01 school year to comply with requirements of the NCLB Act.    

Because NCLB requires that graduation rates not include students who received certificates of completion and those who took longer than four years to graduate, a more rigid formula to determine the rates was adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education in 2002. 

The 2001 and 2002 rates include students who received certificates of completion and those who took longer than four years to graduate. Rates collected after those years include only those students who finished high school within four years and those students with Individual Education Plans (IEP) that allow more than four years to graduate. 

The state’s overall high school dropout rate increased slightly, from 3.17 percent in 2007 to 3.30 percent in 2008. In grades 9-12, 314 more students dropped out in 2008 than in 2007. Dropout rates for nearly all ethnic groups rose slightly from 2007 to 2008. LCHS’s 2008 dropout rate was 0.27.

The school retention rate – the percentage of students held back a grade – decreased slightly, from 3 percent to 2.55 percent statewide. LaRue’s retention percentage rates included Abraham Lincoln Elementary 3.33, Hodgenville Elementary 2.72, LaRue County Middle School 0.94, and LCHS 0.83.

School attendance rates at the state level also decreased slightly, from 94.18 percent to 94.17 percent. All LaRue schools rose above the state average.  HES led LaRue in attendance at 95.89 percent followed by ALES 95.65, LCMS 95.51, and LCHS 94.63.

Successful transition to adult life data provides detailed information on the status of Kentucky graduates. The transition data is collected in the fall of each year when school personnel survey prior year graduates. Successful measures for graduates include full-time college, vocational or technical school, military, work, and a combination of work/school.

The rate of successful transition to adult life decreased slightly from 2007 to 2008 across the state, and the percentage of public high school graduates who went on to college increased, from 54.3 percent in 2007 to 55.1 percent in 2008.

LaRue County High School showed a 96.41 successful transition rate: 64.6 percent attended college, 3.6 percent vocational/technical school, 1.8 percent military, 25.1 percent employed and 3.6 percent unsuccessful according to the criteria.