N.C.'s graduation rates are misleading to public: "North Carolina reported a 97 percent graduation rate - the highest in the nation. But its rate measures the percentage of graduates who finish in four years, not the percentage of students who entered the ninth grade and received a diploma four years later. No dropouts were counted.
The numbers show 'rampant dishonesty,' said Kati Haycock, director of The Education Trust, an advocacy organization for poor and minority students. The Trust reviewed the 2002-03 graduation rates that states provided this year and released its report Thursday.
A series of independent analyses shows the graduation rate across the U.S. is closer to 70 percent, meaning almost one-third of students don’t finish on time – or at all. North Carolina’s graduation rate is probably closer to 60 percent. Only 11 states put their graduation rate somewhere in the 60 percent or 70 percent range, the new report finds. Three states and the District of Columbia reported no graduation rate data at all.
Next year, North Carolina will change its formula and begin reporting the percentage of ninth-graders who graduated on time, said Janice Davis, the state’s interim superintendent of public instruction. In the meantime, she said, the state is accurately reporting what it measures, but also is aware that its measure 'is misleading, and that is not our intent.' "