History of Indiana's Graduation Rate

Posted: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 4:06pm Updated: Tue, 12/17/2013 - 1:39pm

Former Graduation Rate Calculation - 1988-89 through 2004-05

Prior to 2005-06, Indiana used a uniform measure for high school graduation rates based on a calculation that recommended by the National Center for Education Statistics and adopted by many states. That rate is calculated as follows:

For the graduation class of any year, the percentage of the class that did not drop out in Grade 9 is calculated based on the October enrollment in Grade 9. Then the percentage that did not drop out in Grade 10 is calculated based on the October enrollment in Grade 10. The same is done for Grades 11 and 12. All the percentages are then multiplied together. For example: .95 X .96 X .96 X .95 equals a rate of 83.2 percent.

This graduation rate was not a four-year high school completion rate. It calculated the percentage of students who persisted in school from one year to the next, regardless of their educational progress. Calculating a four-year completion rate required a method for following individual students from entry into Grade 9 through graduation, which first became possible in Indiana with the 2005-06 school year (Class of 2006).

New Graduation Rate Calculation — (Beginning 2005-06 and amended for 2006-2007)

In 1999, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation (codified at IC 20-31-7) that allowed the Department of Education to begin tracking individual student progress through Indiana’s Student Test Number (STN) system. The Department implemented the STN system statewide in 2002 following a pilot project.

In 2003, the General Assembly passed additional legislation (codified at IC 20-26-13) that instructed the Department to begin using a new method for calculating high school graduation rates in 2005-06 (the first time four years of student-level STN data would be available), making Indiana among the first states in the nation to calculate graduation rates based on student-level information.

The new formula began by establishing a cohort (or class) of first-time freshmen that expands and contracts as students transfer in and out of school during the years that follow.