News Item

The Rates, They Are A-Changin’

Bob Dylan probably didn’t know much about graduation rates or dropout rates, but we do! Let IDC help you understand the changes in data sources and methodologies for Part B Indicators 1 and 2 in the FFY 2020–2025 SPP/APR. So, “come gather round people, wherever you roam” to learn how the rates are a-changin’.

Indicator 1. For the February 2021 SPP/APR submission, states calculated graduation rate with an ACGR using data they reported under Title I of the ESEA. Beginning with the February 2022 SPP/APR submission, OSEP is replacing the ACGR with the percent of students exiting with a regular high school diploma using the Exiting data file under Section 618 of IDEA. Why is this change significant? The FFY 2022 SPP/APR graduation rate calculation no longer uses cohort membership, and the new rate will not be comparable directly to the ESEA graduation rate. Furthermore, students who receive an alternate diploma will be included differently in the calculation.

Indicator 2. For the February 2021 SPP/APR submission, states had two options to calculate dropout rate: Option 1 (using Section 618 data) and Option 2 (using the annual event school dropout rate). In two years, beginning with the February 2023 SPP/APR submission, states must use Option 1 using Section 618 data. Why is this change significant? Historically, Option 2 has resulted in lower dropout rates than Option 1. As the majority of states transition to Option 1, dropout rates will appear to rise, even if there is no real change in the data. States may face challenges communicating information about the changes to stakeholders.
For more details on specific changes to Indicators 1 and 2, see IDC’s Graduation Rate and Dropout Rate: Indicators 1 and 2 Measurement Changes From FFY 2019 to FFY 2020–2025

Now what? One consequence of these changes is that states must report their new performance targets for Indicators 1 and 2 without a clear history of graduation and dropout rates to support these targets. What can you do? Channel your inner Bob Dylan and “admit that the waters around you have grown.” Change is never easy, but with the help of a new IDC and NTACT:C tool, you’ll be swimming in no time (and not “sink like a stone”). 

Yes, we have a tool for that! IDC and NTACT:C built a new Excel-based tool that calculates graduation and dropout rates using Section 618 Exiting data. The Graduation Rate (Indicator 1) and Dropout Rate (Indicator 2) Calculator has several features. It accumulates graduation and dropout rates across multiple years. It indicates the amount of change in the rates from year to year and whether there was slippage of one (1) percentage point or more. Also, it flags changes of five (5) percentage points or more from the previous year. The tool indicates whether a state met or missed its target that year and by how much. In addition, it generates two types of charts for each indicator: (1) rates over multiple years, and (2) rates and targets over the same time period.

How do I use it? Ideally, go relax, put on some music, and let our tool support your data-driven process for reviewing baselines and setting new targets for Indicators 1 and 2. Collect and enter the past several years of 618 Exiting data in the tool, then review the rates the tool calculated from these data and examine the charts. You will see the trends in Indicators 1 and 2 over the past few years, which will give you a starting point for baseline and target-setting discussions with your stakeholders. 

How do I get it? Download the calculator and additional information on its use from the IDC resource library. If you need help with the calculator, contact your IDC State Liaison.

-Matt Klare and Erin Lomax

  • Erin Lomax and Matt Klare photo
  • News Type:
    AnnouncementsBlog Post