Scotland County Schools’ four-year graduation cohort rate rose to 76.2 percent for the 2011-12 school year. That represents a nearly eleven-point gain from 2010-11’s 65.6 percent rate, school officials said.
The figures were released this week by the state Department of Public Instruction.
The four-year graduation cohort rate is the percentage of students entering the ninth grade who have attained their high school diploma within four years. The rate for all students in North Carolina is 80.2 percent.
This year’s cohort is the students who entered ninth grade during the 2008-09 school year. The state also releases a five-year cohort graduation rate that gives the number of students who have attained their high school diploma within five years of entering the ninth grade.
Scotland County’s five-year graduation rate for 2007-08 entering ninth grade students was 69.4percent.
North Carolina has been tracking graduation cohort rates since the 2005-06 school year as part of the No Child Left Behind accountability standards. That first year, Scotland County Schools had a 55.2 percent graduation rate compared to a 68.3 percent state rate.
“We have come a long way in six years,” said Scotland County Schools Superintendent Rick Stout. “That first year, we were one of the lowest in the state, over 13 percentage points below the state rate. To close that gap to a mere four points in that short amount of time has been a tremendous feat and the result of the hard work of many people from the board (of education) to central office administrative team to principals to, most importantly, our teachers and students.
“That being said, we won’t be happy until the graduation cohort rate is higher. There have been gains, but Scotland County Schools isn’t satisfied until that rate is at 100 percent.”
Graduation cohort rate is different from the district or the state’s dropout rate. The dropout rate represents the percentage of the students who leave school within the district or state (and do not enroll in another school) in a given year.