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Four-year High School Graduation Rate

A new method for calculating high school graduation rates will allow — for the first time — rates to be uniformly compared across states beginning with the 2010-11 school year.

In October, 2008, the U.S. Department of Education amended federal No Child Left Behind regulations to include requirements for calculating a four-year adjusted cohort high school graduation rate at the state, district, and high school levels.

The new high school graduation rate requires all states to report the percentage of freshmen students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma.

From the beginning of ninth grade, students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is subsequently "adjusted" by adding any students who transfer into the cohort later during the ninth grade and the next three years, and subtracting any students who transfer out.

The new and current calculations are based on different cohorts:  the current graduation rate determines its cohort when a student graduates, which includes students who take more than four years to graduate from high school; the new graduation rate determines its cohort when the student first enters the ninth grade.

For now, Missouri's new four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate will be reported in addition to its current graduation rate.

The U.S. Department of Eucation requires all states, districts, and local education agencies to publicly report the new, four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate beginning with the 2010-11 report card.  This information will be available on the Department's website by December 1, 2011.