States brace for grad rate dips as formula changes

July 27, 2011 - 2:14 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — States are bracing for plummeting high school graduation rates as districts nationwide dump flawed measurement formulas that often undercounted dropouts and produced inflated results.

The statistics used to determine how neighborhood high schools are faring can be figured using various formulas that produce wildly different results. Now, many states could see numbers fall by as many as 20 percentage points.

Most states are required to convert to the new calculation this year, but the number won't count as part of federal No Child Left Behind benchmarks until the 2012-13 school year. Schools that consistently miss those measures face sanctions.

States that converted to the new formula already have seen drops ranging from modest to massive.

About half of states are not yet using the new calculation.