Also, officials won’t reveal graduation rates for more than half of school districts.
This combination of bad data and concealed data is a serious impediment to improving Oklahoma’s schools. If the public doesn’t have valid information, how can anyone develop policies to address genuine education needs?
Oklahoma Watch reports that Oklahoma’s high school graduation rate dropped from 84.9 percent in school year 2012-13 to 82.7 percent in 2013-14.
The data behind those figures is an improvement over prior estimates, because it’s supposed to involve a four-year cohort. Previously, students who dropped out of school during their freshman year might not be counted in the graduation rate, artificially inflating that number.
Even so, there’s reason to believe current data is still flawed.
Robyn Miller, deputy superintendent for educator effectiveness and policy research at the state education department, told Oklahoma Watch that some districts may be filing inaccurate reports. At least 35 districts claimed all students graduated on time.
“There are districts that report 100 percent and that can’t be possible,” Miller said. “For whatever reason, they don’t understand how to report.”
A less charitable interpretation is some school officials feel free to inflate performance figures.