The state has released the four-year cohort graduation rates for 2012, and the news is good for New Orleans.
The combined graduation rate for all New Orleans public schools rose to 77.8%.
- The New Orleans graduation rate of 77.8% compares well to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Department of Education report released in November, in 2011 the national average graduation rate for African American students was 60%, and the national average for white students was 76%.
- In New Orleans, public school enrollment is 88% African American, 6% white and 6% other.
- New Orleans outperformed the state of Louisiana (72.3%).
- New Orleans also outperformed Shreveport (63.4%) Baton Rouge (66%) and Jefferson Parish (70.4%).
- RSD-New Orleans is among the most-improved districts, going from a graduation rate of 58.8% in 2011 to 67.7% in 2012.
- RSD-New Orleans ranks #49, outperforming Baton Rouge and Shreveport. The RSD took over the worst performing high schools in the state. This progress in just a few years is remarkable.
- OPSB has the highest graduation rate in the state, although it dropped from 93.8% in 2011 to 89.3% in 2012.
Our Graduates Are Better Prepared
More New Orleans graduates are college and career ready. As Educate Now! reported in 2012, a much higher percentage of our graduates are qualifying for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) awards. TOPS provides two- and four-year merit-based scholarships to Louisiana public colleges and universities based on a student’s grade point average (GPA), ACT score, and coursework completed. In 2005, only 25% of New Orleans public school graduates qualified for a TOPS scholarship. In 2012, 39% qualified.
% of Public School Graduates Eligible for TOPS
Two- or Four-Year Scholarships
Taking into account both the increase in graduation rates and the increase in percentage of graduates qualifying for TOPS, for every 100 students entering 9th grade, New Orleans went from only 13 of them graduating and qualifying for TOPS in 2005 to 30 of every 100 graduating and qualifying for TOPS in 2012 – a 130% improvement!
New Orleans Graduates College and Career Ready
The four-year cohort graduation rate tracks the percentage of high school students that graduate on time with a regular diploma. It is a robust measurement and gives a much more accurate picture of high school progress than the traditional annual graduation rate. Students are tracked throughout their high school career, and the results show not just our successes – on time graduates – but our disappointments – students who graduate late or who leave school and never return.
Who is included in the 2012 Cohort?
Any student who:
- Enrolled as a first time freshman in 2008
- Transferred into a New Orleans public school by October 1 of their junior year (2010)
- Transferred from one public school to another in Orleans Parish
- Dropped out – they remain in the cohort as a non-graduate
- Was expelled and did not reenroll in another school – they remain in the cohort as a non-graduate
- Left to pursue or obtained a GED – they remain in the cohort as a non-graduate
- Did not graduate by spring 2012 – they remain in the cohort as a non-graduate
Who is a “legitimate leaver” and not included in the Cohort?
Any student who:
- Transfers to a private school
- Transfers to a public school outside of Orleans Parish
- Is documented as being home schooled
- Leaves the state
- Is incarcerated
Can’t students just disappear?
Actually, Louisiana does an excellent job of tracking students. Every student is assigned a student ID number. Each year the state identifies students who were enrolled in any Louisiana public school the prior year and are not enrolled in the current year. It eliminates from this list students who are “legitimate leavers.” Otherwise, the student is considered a dropout and remains in the cohort as a non-graduate.