In recent years, North Springs has maintained an increasing graduation rate. In 2013, the graduation rate was 71.9 percent. From here, it rose to 77.5 percent in 2014 and 90 percent in 2015. This rate of increase over the past few years is not only impressive, but also provides a goal for future generations at North Springs. When 2016 graduation rates were released by the state earlier this month, it appeared as if the rate had decreased; however, this was not the case.
In an email sent to parents on November 1, Mr. Hanson wrote, “We learned that some of our student data is not accurate due to a coding error and [currently] shows North Springs with a 78% graduation rate.” Hanson noted that the school was sure that the correct graduation rate was much higher.
Mr. Hanson says that the school administration knew about this issue before the statistic was even made public. They prepared with the county in advance to resolve the issue, but unfortunately, the county had already planned to publish the incorrect information. Within a few days, however, the correction was made. While not on time for initial publication, the correct graduation rate is on record now and was presented to the North Springs community. On November 6th, Mr. Hanson sent a follow-up email to parents and staff: “We are now at 89.665%, which rounded up makes it 90%,” he wrote.
Hanson explained that the issue stems from the coding used to calculate graduation rate. The rate is calculated by dividing the number of students graduating by the number of students that enrolled at North Springs four years before. Various situations involving students leaving the school can count against the school’s graduation rate if coded incorrectly, including school transfers, dropouts, and students opting for homeschool.
Why was there such a dramatic growth in the percentage of graduating students? “We’re focusing on the kids more,” Hanson says. North Springs, in addition to making sure that coding is correct, is paying special attention to “those kids that have the biggest affect on dropping out… offering remedial opportunities, tutoring, things like that.” In the case of students who are rising seniors that will not receive enough credits during their senior year in order to graduate, counselors may encourage them to attend a school that will give them the opportunity to earn those credits in less time. All of these options, if coded correctly, will ensure a higher graduation rate.
With such rapidly increasing rates in the past, how can we keep these rates up and By consistently meeting with guidance counselors about seniors, Mr. Hanson can ensure that North Springs can get more students on track to graduate in coming years, further increasing the graduation rate.