Monday, April 21, 2014

Six Years & Six Measurements: DISD vs Harrison District in Colorado

This spreadsheet shows the wonderful graduation rate progress in DISD from 2006 through 2012 and the tragic student attrition during the exact same years in Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs when Mr. Miles was Superintendent.  Now Mr. Miles is in Dallas. Student attrition is going up here. 500 seniors gone! DISD now has the lowest high school enrollment in 5 years!  Can Dallas ignore this data?
Six Years & Six Measurements: DISD vs Harrison District Colorado
Click on above chart to enlarge or print.
The data sources and spreadsheets used to generate this spreadsheet are available in Excel format.  Email    This data is also available on this blog in multiple locations.  The Harrison data is concentrated at .

Six measurements explained: row 6 to row 11 in the first chart above and rows 16 to 21 in the second chart
·         Row 6: “% 9th Grade Bulge Gone” reflects how well 8th graders are prepared for 9th grade work, and how well 9th graders are managed, so as to not repeat 9th grade.   For over 30 years the so-called “ninth grade bulge” has cursed school districts across Texas, especially urban districts.  For decades DISD would have only 11,000 students in the 8th grade but would then have more than 14,000 9th graders due to failures.  This bulge was slowly eliminated from 2007 to 2011! That progress stopped during the 2012/13 school year! It appears DISD is going backward according to measurements for the current 2013/14 school year.  The formula used is the 8th grade enrollment as a percentage of 9th grade enrollment (8th grade enrollment/9th grade enrollment).

·         Row 7: “Last year’s 9th now in 10th reflects the reality that for decades most dropouts never made it to the 10th grade. That is no longer true! DISD passed the 70% barrier in 2009 for this measurement for the first time, and has never gone back that low. This is a measurement that continued to improve though this year.  It is now over 89%!  The formula used is 10th grade enrollment as a percentage of the 9th grade enrollment (10th grade enrollment/9th grade enrollment). 

·         Row 8: “Current 12th as % 9th" is a short-hand measurement of how a school is doing with their graduation rate.  Just compare 12th grade enrollment with 9th grade enrollment at any school any time.  The bigger the difference the greater the problem.  For decades DISD had total senior enrollment that represented less than half the 9th grade enrollment.  DISD passed this 50% barrier during the 2007/08 school year, zoomed up to 73.8% by 2011/12, but has now reverted back to pre-2010 levels! The formula use is the current 12th grade enrollment as a percentage of current 9th grade enrollment (12th grade enrollment/9th grade enrollment).

·         Row 9“Promotion Rate” is a measurements widely used by the John Hopkins University Professor John Balfanz and colleagues who established the term “Dropout Factory” back in 2007 using this measurement formula.  At that time all DISD non-magnet high schools were classified as “dropout factories.”  That is no longer true due to significant progress made! The formula used is the current full 12th grade enrollment as a percentage of the original full 9th grade enrollment the year that cohort was in the 9th grade (current 12th grade enrollment/original full 9th grade enrollment).

·         Row 10: “Graduation Rate” passed the 50% barrier for the first time with the Class of 2011.  Due to the progress eliminating the 9th grade bulge, the 60% barrier will probably be passed this year in DISD unless progress deteriorates more than anticipated.  The formula used is the number of diplomas given out as a percentage of the original full 9th grade enrollment the year that cohort was in the 9th grade (Diplomas given/original full 9th grade enrollment

·         Row 11: "CPI - Cumulative Promotion Index" is the most valuable measurement.  It’s the most timely, complete, and predictive.  It shows what is happening now, and what may happen in the near future. The CPI only uses measurements collected within one calendar year for each of the four student groups in any high school: 9th graders moving to 10th grade, 10th moving to 11th, 11th moving to 12th and 12th graders who graduate.  The DISD CPI rose from 40.7% for the Class of 2006 to 66.1% for the Class of 2012!  After six years of constantly higher CPI measurements, the 3.6 percentage point drop to 62.5% for the Class of 2013, a measurement lower than any class since 2009, is a stern warning that things are not well now in Dallas ISD.  (CPI also dropped over 15 percentage points under Mike Miles in Harrison!)  The formula only uses enrollment and graduation numbers from the current 12 month period comparing last years enrollment with this years in the following formula: (current 10th grade enrollment/last years 9th grade enrollment) x (current 11th grade enrollment/last years 10th grade enrollment) x (current 12th grade enrollment/last years 11th grade enrollment) x (last years graduation numbers/last years 12th grade enrollment) = Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) for last years graduation class.
Row 16 also focuses on 8th to 9th grade movement, but since the 9th grade "bulge" issue in Harrison had been corrected before Mr. Miles arrived, the issue was one of student attrition: 8th grade enrollment never reflected in a shrinking 9th grade enrollment.
 The other measurements in Rows 17 through 21 use the exact same formulas as those above for Rows 7 through 11.
If there are any questions about the above, or if you want copies of the original spreadsheets, please email