The New Haven Board of Education today releases estimates of the graduation rate for the class of 2011 that show a 1.8% increase over last year, and estimates for 1st to 3rd year students in high school that show an increase of 9.2% in the students on-trajectory for successful completion of high school.
            The estimates build from NHPS’s approach to individual student tracking in high schools, which led New Haven to adopt a cohort graduation calculation methodology last year, more than a year before the state as a whole. 
            “I am pleased that our approach to tracking individual students is being confirmed by the State, and even more pleased that our estimates show graduation rates increasing by almost 2% and on trajectory rates more than 9%.  I am not satisfied, and I know the rest of New Haven’s educators are not satisfied either, but today’s estimates shows good progress toward two of our three School Change goals,” said Dr. Reginald Mayo, Superintendent of New Haven Public Schools.
            Last January, NHPS announced estimated graduation statistics for the Class of 2010 using a cohort methodology, which showed an estimated graduation rate of 62.0%, an estimated drop-out rate of 27.6%, and an estimated still-enrolled (i.e. those students who are returning for a 5th year of high school) rate of 10.3%.  State Department of Education statistics recently confirmed the NHPS estimates and the underlying methodology within fractions of percentage points, with the SDE publishing final cohort graduation statistics for the class of 2010 showing a graduation rate of 62.5%, a drop-out rate of 27.1%, and a still enrolled rate of 10.1%.
            Using this cohort methodology, NHPS has estimated that 64.3% of the class of 2011 graduated on-time.  This is an increase of 1.8 percentage points over 2010 rates.  Meanwhile, the drop-out rate fell by 2 percentage points, from 27.1% to 25.1%.
The 2011 drop-out rate includes 2.9% of students transferring into Adult Education’s Diploma Program and 8.6% of students transferring into GED programs.  These students still have the potential to earn high school credit and equivalency through these alternative programs, but are considered drop-outs under the cohort methodology.
            Following its emphasis on cohort and individual student tracking, NHPS has for the last two years calculated an “on-trajectory” rate for students in their 1st through 3rd year of high school.  To be “on-trajectory” students must earn at least 6 credits a year, and must have passed all 4 CAPT tests in their 2nd and 3rd year.  On trajectory is a conservative measure, particularly given the rigor of counting only students who have passed all 4 CAPT tests.
            The rate of 1st to 3rd year students on-trajectory at the end of the 2010-2011 school year increased 9.2 percentage points, from 41.3% to 50.5%.  “The increase in freshman, sophomore, and junior students who are on-trajectory is particularly satisfying to me, because it reflects strong positive momentum in the earlier grades of high school,” Dr. Mayo said.  “Teachers who work with students in their earlier years of high school should be particularly congratulated.”
            Graduation and on-trajectory measures increased in the majority of NHPS high schools.  Hyde, Hillhouse, New Haven Academy, Riverside, and Wilbur Cross each showed increases in both estimated graduation and estimated on-trajectory measures.  Hyde, Riverside, Hillhouse, Wilbur Cross, Sound, and Co-Op all showed increases of more than 8% of their 1st to 3rd year student population on-trajectory.  Hillhouse, Hyde, New Haven Academy, and Hill Regional Career all showed more than a 2% increase in graduation rate.
            All 2011 graduation calculations are estimates, based on the most recent student information available to the New Haven Public Schools.  Final graduation statistics will be published by the State Department of Education.
Various strategies are currently underway within NHPS to maintain and extend academic momentum in the high schools.  From a data and tracking perspective, important strategies include the tracking of students into college and other post-high school educational options, and the development of 21st century competency metrics.  From an educational perspective, important strategies are focused on strengthening student engagement and instructional rigor in high school, and include the College Summit program, an expansion of career and vocational education, and efforts to increase the personal connection of high school students to their teachers and schools.
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