The graduation rate for the Class of 2009 was 74.6 percent. This represents a 0.7 percentage point increase from the Class of 2008 rate of 73.9 percent and a 0.4 percentage point decrease compared to the Class of 2007 graduation rate of 75.0 percent.
Graduation Rate Notes
1) 2008-09 was the fourth academic year in which new policies and formulas mandated by CCR 301-67 - “Rules for the Administration of Colorado Data Reporting for School Accreditation” affected the graduation rate calculation:
A. This legislation changed the way the Colorado Department of Education counts students who leave a Colorado school district to pursue a GED (General Educational Development) certificate beginning in the 2005-06 school year. Previously, students bound for a GED program were treated as transfers and did not affect the graduation rate calculation. Under the new formula, students who exit a school or district to attend a GED program remain in the “membership base” (the graduation rate denominator) and thereby reduce the graduation rate for their graduating class. As an example, consider a scenario where a student exits 11th grade to attend a GED program. Assume that the cohort or “class” from which this student exited includes 10 students, and that the other nine students from the cohort all graduate the next year as 12th graders.
Prior to 2005-06, the student would have been removed from the graduation rate denominator, so the calculation would be nine graduates divided by a membership base of nine students for a 100% graduation rate.
Beginning in 2005-06, the student exiting to the GED preparation program would be kept in the graduation rate denominator, so the calculation would be nine graduates divided by a membership base of ten students for a 90% graduation rate.
B. Another provision of the legislation, implemented in 2006-2007, requires Colorado’s school districts to obtain adequate documentation of transfer for all students who transfer from the district to attend a school outside the state or country, a private school, or a home-based education program. Adequate documentation is defined as an official request for academic records from the student’s new school or, in the case of a home-based education program, a signed form from a parent or legal guardian. If the district cannot obtain this documentation, the student must be reported as a dropout. As an example, consider a scenario where a student’s parent or guardian withdraws their son or daughter from 10th grade and informs the school that the family is moving to Kansas and will enroll their child in a Kansas high school after they move. Assume that the cohort or “class” from which this student exited includes 10 students, and that the other nine students from the cohort all graduate the two years later as 12th graders.
Prior to 2006-07, the Colorado school district could report the student as a transfer and the student would thereby be removed from the graduation rate denominator. The resulting the calculation would be nine graduates divided by a membership base of nine students for a 100% graduation rate.
Beginning in 2006-07, the Colorado school district could not report the student as a transfer unless an official request for the student’s educational records is received from the school in Kansas. If this request is not received, the Colorado district is required to report the student as a dropout. As a dropout, the student is kept in the graduation rate denominator, so the calculation would be nine graduates divided by a membership base of ten students for a 90% graduation rate.
Graduation Rates for the Class of 2009
District Level Data
- Graduates and Completers by District, Gender, and Race/Ethnicity (XLS)
- Graduates and Completers by District, and Instructional Program Service Type (XLS)
School Level Statistics
- Graduates and Completers by Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and School (XLS)
- Graduates and Completers by Instructional Program Service Type, and School (XLS)
NOTE: The graph above reflects a graduation rate range of 40 percent to 100 percent rather than the normal 0 to 100 percent range used to plot these data. This was done to make the individual graph elements more distinct and easier to read. However, this greatly accentuates changes in the the year-to-year trend lines.
Questions and Answers About Colorado’s Graduation Rates
Who is counted as a graduate? There is no statewide definition. In Colorado, local school boards are responsible for establishing the requirements for high school graduation. A graduate is a student who has met the requirements for the locally defined high school diploma.
Do all Colorado school districts have the same requirements for graduation? No. Each local school board defines graduation requirements for its district. These vary from district to district. The state considers a graduate to be any student who has met the graduation requirements of his or her local school district.
Are there students who complete 12 years of school and do not graduate? Yes. Some districts award certificates or other designations of high school completion or attendance to students who do not meet the standard high school graduation requirements. Also, some students who do not meet the traditional high school graduation requirements do successfully achieve a general educational development certificate (GED).
Under what circumstances is a student reported as a transfer? A ‘transfer’ is, for the purposes of the graduation rate and the completer rate, a student who can be verified as attending another school that awards diplomas or a home-based education program (home school) pursuant to 22-33-104.5. It does not include students who enroll in a GED preparation program.
What is the graduation rate? The graduation rate is a cumulative or longitudinal rate which calculates the number of students who actually graduate as a percent of those who were in membership over a four-year period (i.e., from Grades 9-12) and could have graduated with the current graduating class.
A graduation rate is reported for each graduating class (i.e., the Class of 2007). The rate is calculated by dividing the number of graduates by the membership base. The membership base is derived from the number students entering ninth grade four years earlier (i.e., during the 2003-2004 year), and adjusted for students who have transferred into or out of the district during the years covering grades 9 through 12.
The Graduation Rate Calculation:
Number of students receiving a regular diploma during the 2008-09 school year
(Number of students beginning 9th grade in 2005-06) + (Number of transfers in) – (Number of verified transfers out)
What is meant by the "Class of 2009"? The Class of 2009 includes students who graduated during the 2008-09 academic year. While most of these graduates are those students who began 9th grade four years earlier, the graduating class may include students who completed high school in three years, four years, or longer.
What happens to students who graduate in the summer? Summer graduates are included in the graduation rate calculation of the current graduating class – provided they receive a diploma before August 31 of the reported school year.
If a student was reported as a dropout at some point during his or her high school years and the school subsequently receives information that the student transferred into another educational program, does that student affect the graduation rate for the class of which he/she was originally a member? No. If the high school has documentation of the student's transfer into another educational program or completion of an educational program, then an adjustment may be made to the membership base used to calculate the graduation rate. These students are not reported as completers from the district, they are taken out of the membership base of the school and treated as if they transferred from the school. However, the dropout rate for the year in which they were reported as a dropout remains unchanged.
What is the completion rate? The Completion Rate is also a cumulative or longitudinal rate which reflects the number of students who graduate, receive a GED certificate, or receive a certificate or other designation of high school completion. Like the graduation rate, the completion rate is calculated as a percent of those who were in membership and could have graduated or completed over a four-year period (i.e., from Grades 9-12).
The Completion Rate Calculation:
Number of students receiving a regular diploma, GED certificate, or designation of high school completion during the 2008-2009 school year
(Number of students beginning 9th grade in 2005-2006) + (Number of transfers in) – (Number of verified transfers out)
Definitions of Terms Used in the Graduation Rate Reports
Instructional Program Service Type (IPST): Services provided by schools and/or districts for students identified as belonging to one or more of the categories below:
Students with Disabilities: Students who have been formally identified as having physical or health conditions that may have a significant impact on the student’s ability to learn and therefore warrant placing the student on an Individual Educational Program (IEP).
Limited English Proficient: This designation encompasses all students identified as either non-English proficient or limited English proficient. Non-English proficient is defined as a student who speaks a language other than English and does not comprehend, speak, read, or write English. Limited English proficient is defined as a student who comprehends, speaks, reads, or writes some English, but whose predominant comprehension or speech is in a language other than English. Districts must provide language services to all limited English proficient students.
Economically Disadvantaged: Student qualifies for either the free or reduced lunch program. The Federal National School Lunch Act establishes eligibility for the reduced price lunch program for families with income up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level (in 2009, this amount was $39,220 for a family of four). Families with income up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for the free lunch program (in 2009 this amount was $27,560 for a family of four).
Migrant: Students enrolled in a specially designed program for children who are, or whose parent or spouse is a migratory agricultural worker, and who, in the preceding 36 months, in order to obtain, or accompany such parent or spouse in order to obtain, temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural work has moved from one school district to another.
Title 1: Students that are identified by the school as failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet the State’s challenging student academic achievement standards on the basis of multiple, educationally related, objective criteria established by the school.
Homeless: According to the McKinney Act, a “homeless individual”: lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
Gifted and Talented: Students who have been formally identified, using district wide procedures aligned with CDE guidelines, as being endowed with a high degree of exceptionality or potential in mental ability, academics, creativity, or talents (visual, performing, musical arts, or leadership.