Bill would change graduate rate calculations

Friday, March 7th 2008, 7:21 pm
By: News 9

By Mary Joseph, NEWS 9

A state senator is seeking to change the way officials calculate the state's high school graduate rate.

The state board of education reports the high school graduation rate is at 84.6 percent. 

Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson (R-Oklahoma City) wants 100 percent graduation rates by 2013.  She said she thinks starts with finding a common way to calculate graduation rates.

The senator authored a bill in the Oklahoma legislature that would create a way to calculate graduation rates based on standards from the National Governors Association.

"We have reported 4 graduation rates," she said. "It's very confusing and there is no way to compare it to the rest of the nation."

Wilcoxson, a former educator, said she thinks using the NGA method will expose a more realistic picture of graduation rates in Oklahoma.

"We would have some transparency in how many of our students actually graduate and how many drop out," she said.

Shelley Hickman with the State Department of Education is not familiar with Wilcoxson's bill, but said Oklahoma already has the pieces in place to use the NGA method by 2010.

"That calculation requires collecting four years worth of data," Hickman said. "We have been collecting data now for two years."

This bill passed the Senate this week and will now make its rounds in the house. Wilcoxson's bill would not allow individuals who receive GEDs to be included in the graduation rate.