Messy measures of convenience

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IDevice Icon Messy measures
  • Which students are schools accountable for?
  • How do you track students who move between schools and between enrollment and non-enrollment?
  • What do you count, graduation or dropping out?
  • What about different types of diplomas?

IDevice Icon K-12 measures in literature
  • "Holding power" (1960s): how many students persist through multiple years
    • Graduation not a target
    • Conflated by grade retention
    • Conflated by transfers/migration
  • "Event dropout rate" (1960s-1990s): what proportion of high school enrollment drops out
    • Graduation not a target
    • Identification of dropouts poor
    • Subject to administrative fraud (e.g., Houston)
  • "Status dropout rate" (1990s): what proportion of young adults are out of school without a diploma (based on Current Population Survey)
    • Requires surveying population
    • Not appropriate for small jurisdictions such as districts or schools
    • Groups 18-24-year-olds together (GEDs change portrait for those in their 20s)
  • "Graduation rate" (1990s): what proportion of young adults have high school credentials (based on Current Population Survey)
    • Requires surveying population
    • Not appropriate for small jurisdictions
    • May conflate GEDs with standard diplomas if not small age intervals (i.e., 18-19 year olds)
  • Grade-based graduation measures (e.g., U.S. Department of Education, Haney, Swanstrom, etc.) (Common Core of Data)
    • Conflated by grade retention (for those with 9th grade as base)
    • Conflated by migration/transfers
    • Problematic data source
  • Adjusted grade-based measures (e.g., Warren, Greene)
    • Warren: 8th-grade base better
    • Attempts to adjust for migration/transfers
    • Still problems with Common Core of Data
    • Not appropriate for small-area estimates (districts and schools)

IDevice Icon IPEDS graduation rate (higher ed)
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is a set of aggregate measures institutions report
  • IPEDS graduation rates are based on program length (100% and 150% of nominal length), so a 4-year baccalaureate program reports 4- and 6-year longitudinal graduation rates
  • Transfers out are never credited to the beginning institution
  • Transfers in are also not credited to the graduating institution
  • Part-time students are ignored by IPEDS graduation rates

IDevice Icon Measures of convenience
  • K-12 data reported by grade
  • Most K-12 systems not capable of following transfers or even auditing reports of transfers
  • IPEDS defined for so-called traditional-age students, with no assumption of transfers
  • IPEDS is self-reported data