Louisiana high school students earning diplomas

BATON ROUGE- More than 65 percent of students who enter ninth grade in high schools across Louisiana are earning diplomas in the traditional four-year time frame, said reports issued by the Louisiana Department of Education recently.

This factor, known as the Cohart Graduation Rate, is based on the number of students who enter the ninth grade and graduate four years later, as part of the No Child Left Behind act.

Many years have been spent monitoring and analyzing the information by the department, although no official reports have been issued. However, Department leaders say the critical nature of the data warrants reports at the state, district and school levels.

“In the past, because graduation rates impacts the School Performance Scores (SPS), the data was reported with SPS data,” said State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek. “With the department’s renewed focus on high school graduation rates and preparing students for college and careers through various initiatives, we think it is important to highlight and monitor the measurement at all levels so that policy makers, educators, parents and communities not only become familiar with the term, but they also begin to work in collaboration with districts and schools to achieve a better outcome for high school students across the state.”

Based on data from the year 2007, the Cohart Graduation Rate of 65.9 percent represents a gain of 4.6 percent as compared to 2001, when the rate measured 61.3 percent. The data also represents a 1.1 percent gain from Louisiana’s official 2006 Cohart Graduation Rate of 64.8 percent.

Keith Guice, President of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), said, “We recognize that dramatic increases in graduation rates won’t happen overnight. However, I am optimistic that if we focus on the issues that impact high school students, our goal of raising Louisiana’s graduation rate to 80 percent by the year 2016 can be achieved in a shorter time frame.”

This report also included Cohart Graduation Rates for 62 school district and 271 schools. Nearly ten percent of high schools that reported data had cohort graduation rates of 90 percent or higher, with more than 26 percent had cohort graduation rates below the state rate of 65.9.

The school districts with the highest cohort graduation rates are Beauregard Parish, 87.3; Allen Parish, 84.5; Jackson, 83.4; Zachary Community, 82.8 and Livingston Parish, 81.3. Schools in Cameron Parish, Plaquemines Parish, the Recovery School District and St. Bernard Parish did not report cohort graduation data due to the interruption in school caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

The five individual schools with the highest cohort graduation rates are Fairview High School in St. Allen Parish, 100; Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, 100; LSU Laboratory School, 100; Baton Rouge High School in East Baton Rouge Parish, 97.1 and Sarepta High School in Webster Parish, 96.8.

“When students see the link between what they are learning in the classroom and their future success, they will recognize the value of a high school diploma and they will work to meet and even exceed our expectations,” noted Pastorek.

Individual school graduation rates and district graduation rates for 2006 and 20047 are linked below and can be found on the department’s website at www.Louisiana.Schools.net.

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