Kentucky’s high school graduation rate is one of the highest in state history and education officials say more students are finishing college and career ready than ever before.
Gov. Steve Beshear joined Education Commissioner Terry Holliday Tuesday in announcing the preliminary results of new assessment data that will officially be released later this month. The state posted an 86 percent graduation rate this year, improving from the 78 percent rate in 2012.
The state is also using a more accurate graduation rate formula this year, which has been adopted by nearly every state.
The graduation rate should be considered alongside the college and career readiness rate, which is used in the state’s assessment and which represents students who have met the benchmarks that will better prepare them for life after high school.
For example, being career ready means the student “is preparatory in a Career and Technical Education career major and has reached the benchmarks on WorkKeys or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery tests and Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment or an Industry Certification,” according to the KDE website.
Only 54 percent of Kentucky students are college and career ready, but that’s improvement over the 47 percent last year, and around a third in 2010. The state has posted a goal of getting 67 percent of students ready for college and career by 2015.
Holliday put the college and career readiness measure into the context of higher education costs for families.
“That means that they won’t have to borrow money for remedial courses at the college level that don’t carry any credit. That means that mom and dad don’t have to foot the bill for remedial courses,” he says.
Beshear calls it a turning point in Kentucky education history, which he says at times has been embarrassing.
“But thanks to decades of hard work and policy changes Kentucky has carved out a new reputation. A reputation as a reform minded state that is innovative, bold and relentless.”
Beshear used Tuesday’s announcement to remind the public of the new policies that have yet to see effects, including the new drop out age of 18, kindergarten readiness screeners and a new teacher evaluation system.
Results for individual schools and districts are expected to be released Sept. 27. That data will be available on the Kentucky Department of Education’s “School Report Card” web page.
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