Thursday, March 24, 2011

Final Report Card on Dallas ISD Board Budgeting in 2011: Graduation Rate changes 2012-2016

On March 24, 2011, the Dallas ISD Board will consider some of the most consequential changes possible relative to future graduation rate progress within DISD. They may take actions to lay off more than 500 teachers.

As indicated on the "Dallas ISD Report Card for 2011 Budgeting" below, the past 5 years have shown record breaking progress in raising the graduation rate within DISD.  The DISD Class of 2010 set a 20+ year graduation rate record!  Over 50% of the full 9th grade enrollment of 2006-2007 was reflected in the number getting diplomas with the Class of 2010!  This is the first time DISD has gone above 50% in this graduation rate measurement in over 20 years!  The indicators for the future are that this number will continue to grow at least through 2013! The five measurements used in this graph are as follows:
  1. The ninth grade bulge reduction is the percentage of 8th grade enrollment reflected in 9th grade enrollment. Yes, 9th grade enrollments in Texas are usually much bigger than the 8th grade enrollments.  This is the called "the 9th grade bulge," students repeating 9th grade due to poor middle school preparation and support in high school, often until they just drop out. As the bulge shrinks the percentage of 8th grade enrollment reflected in 9th grade enrollment grows, as has been happening for 5 years in DISD.
  2. The percent of last yrs 9th grade in 10th is another indicator of the 9th grade bulge as students leave the 9th grade. As the bulge shrinks this number increases.  DISD now has the smallest 9th grade enrollment, and the largest 10th grade enrollment, in over 20 years!
  3. The Promotion Rate is the 12th grade enrollment as a percentage of original full 9th grade enrollment. It is the measurement used by John Hopkins University in their nationally known "Dropout Factory Study." The progress in DISD is wonderful and the number of Dropout Factory high schools in DISD is the lowest in decades.
  4. The Graduation Rate as calculated here is the number of diplomas granted as a percentage of full 9th grade enrollment.  It is not to be confused with the "Graduation Rate" numbers given out by both DISD and TEA. Those numbers include corrections from coding by clerks in each school so as to document valid transfers both into and out of our schools.  The measurement in this chart only counts full 9th grade enrollment as compared with the full number of diplomas given, with no such corrections by coding clerks.
  5. The Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) rate calculation, is the most timely and predictive of these five measurements. It is calculated in the identical manner as the Graduation Rate above, using the four transitions toward graduation: 9th to 10th, 10th to 11th, 11th to 12th, 12th to graduation. The difference is that each of the transitions used in the CPI calculation is from a different student group so that all four transitions happen within the same calendar year and not one group spread across 4 years. Consequently the CPI is much more timely with all calculations used reflecting what is happening within the most recent year in a school or school district.  It is also more predictive since three of the four groups measured have not yet graduated and will contribute to future graduation rates as well.
Here is the graph reflecting these 5 graduation rate measurements over the last 5 years in DISD.  What will this same graph updated 5 years from now with then current data say about the decisions made in 2011 in DISD?
The anticipated loss of hundreds of teachers endangers the progress made over the past 5 years.   Hopefully the updates that will be made to this chart in 2016 will not be a report card reflecting declines or setbacks but continued progress.

Graduation rates rise due to the positive relationships of students with teachers. Fewer teachers mean less potential for such positive relationships. Crowded classrooms lower graduation rates.

The ultimate responsibility for this crisis is with the Texas Legislature.  The is a record of those issues.  A bill now in committee, Texas House Bill 354 could eliminate the deficit by sharing the burdens more equally among all Texans. We have work to do in Austin to protect our students, and the future of Texas. 

To see spreadsheets used to create these charts go to for Excel copies, or study the progress that is demonstrated in the copy below:
Click on the above image to make it larger.