Recently new methodology for computing graduation rates was recommended by the National Governor’s Association (NGA) and further refined in the federal non-regulatory guidance issued by the United States Department of Education on December 22, 2008. In response to these new requirements, the Minnesota Department of Education will compute three new graduation rates. To keep in line with the previous NGA rate, which was also a four-year graduation rate, Minnesota KIDS COUNT will be publishing the four-year graduation and drop out rates starting in the 2006-2007 school year (2007) and moving forward. Due to differences in methodology, these new indicators should not be compared to previous graduation and drop out rates.
The Four-Year Graduation Rate is a four-year, on-time, graduation rate based on a cohort of first time ninth grade students plus transfers into the cohort within the four-year period minus transfers out of the cohort within the four-year period. This rate is similar to, but not the same as, the NGA Graduation Rate. The NGA Rate allows more time for Special Education students and recent immigrants to graduate.
Children Dropping Out of School (7th-12th grade) has been a key indicator for Minnesota since the inception of the KIDS COUNT project until 2005. The indicator is defined as public school students who dropout within a school year and do not return by the following October 1st. The percentage is the total reported dropouts divided by the October 1 enrollment for grades 7-12. Data exist from 1993-2005. Because Children Dropping out of School was a key indicator, KIDS COUNT MN decide to keep the data from 1993-2005. However, data beyond 2005 are not available for this indicator.
After 2005, the Minnesota Department of Education started publishing four different indicators to measure graduation and drop out rates. After analyzing and evaluating each of the four measures, KIDS COUNT MN decided to start reporting the NGA four-year rate of students who have dropped out within four years starting in 9th grade. This indicator corresponds to the graduation rate published on this site for years 2002-2008. The National Center for Education Statistics cites this rate as the NCES Exclusion-Adjusted Cohort Graduation Indicator. This rate is similar to the current four-year graduation rate being used but due to differences in methodology, should not be compared. This indicator is no longer published by the Minnesota Department of Education; therefore no data exist beyond 2008.