Monday, July 18, 2011

The Hunt for Missing School Children

An interesting chat at the Prichard blog; Susan Weston has been hunting missing school children.

Weston has been looking for about 3,000 Kentucky students who, sometime after middle school, seem to disappear from the count of graduates and dropouts each year.

The issue matters. Tracking attendance and computing graduation rate tells us whether the opportunity to obtain an adequate education is distributed across the citizens of the Commonwealth, as the constitution requires. Writ large, the K-12 system has only recently become equitable in terms of fiscal support. Similarly, the system has a strong basis to claim advances in student achievement since the Rose decision in 1989. The system is better socially; not perfect.

Anyway, Weston thinks she's found good news - that state information systems are performing better.
the added accuracy is coming from the improved student information system that moved into full implementation two years ago, designed to track students individually from year to year and from school to school across the state.
Overall, though, it looks like a good sign: it looks as though we're getting closer to counting the students who don't collect diplomas accurately, and like we're also getting better at getting many of them through to high school graduation.
She says it could also mean KDE is ...
  • Keeping better track of public school eighth graders as they move through to graduations than we did a few years ago 
  • More private schools students moving into the public schools than we was a few years ago
  • More students who repeat grade 9 nevertheless persevering to graduation.


Anonymous said...

Just curious, but what is the source data of your analysis?

Richard Day said...

That's a question for Susan over at Prich. She lists her sources on the blog. Follow the link above.

Anonymous said...

Over at the Bluegrass Policy Blog they don't seem too impressed with Weston's analysis.

They say she misses several thousand kids who just disappeared.