University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Happy Graduation Day!

In The View from the OEP on May 28, 2014 at 11:07 pm

congratulations-graduate1Earlier this month, the OEP released our report on Graduation Rates in Arkansas, along with databases with the graduation rates of all high schools across the state. In our report, we also identified the top high schools in the state on graduation rate, as well as the top high schools based our GRAD index, a measure of the difference between a school’s actual graduation rate and its predicted graduation rate based on the school’s characteristics.

ozarks at largeSince then, we have written an op-ed about the state’s graduation rates and spoken to our local NPR-affiliate, KUAF, on their program Ozarks at Large about our findings. All of this buzz has prompted us to think more about graduation rates and how to best identify the top-performing schools. Although there is much more to learn by reading the full report, we thought it might be a good idea, during this graduation season, to share the good news about high schools with very high graduation rates.  (On the lists that follow, we do include only those schools large enough to have graduation cohorts of at least 30 students, so as to avoid listing schools that earned a 100% grad rate by, say, graduating 8 of 8 students!)  In the lists below, we ranked schools in the state  based on a simple average of their overall and TAGG graduation rates for 2011-12 and 2012-13 and highlight the top 20 schools in the state, the top 3 schools in each region, and the top “beating the odds” schools in the state. The “beating the odds” schools are schools with high graduation rates that serving large numbers of  traditionally disadvantaged students (66% or more TAGG* students).

*TAGG stands for Targeted Achievement Gap Group subgroup, which includes free or reduced lunch-eligible, special education, and English language learner students.

Table 1 shows the top 20 schools with the highest combined overall and TAGG graduation rates over the past two years.

Overall Top 20 Perfoming Schools based on Grad RatesWe commend all of the schools that made the top 20 list in the state, but Wickes High School in particular stands out. Not only did Wickes have the highest graduation rate in the state, but the school also serves 100% TAGG students! Congratulations to all of these schools for ensuring that the majority of their students made it to graduation day!

Next, we identify the top 3 schools with the highest graduation rate in their region.

Top Regional Schools based on Grad Rates

Finally, we highlight the top 20 “beating the odds” schools. These are the schools where at least two-thirds of the population are TAGG students, yet have a graduation rate of at least 90% overall.

Top 20 Beating the Odds SchoolsOne encouraging thing we see is that four of the schools on the “beating the odds” list were also on the top 20 overall graduation rate list! Wickes, Izard Co. Cons., Westside, and Cedaille high schools are not only have some of the highest graduation rates in the state but also serve a student population with 66% or more TAGG students. Congratulations to these and all of the “beating the odds” schools!

Congratulations to all of the schools that have the top graduation rates in the state and region! Don’t forget to visit our  graduation rate databases for more information about your school’s graduation rate.

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