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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Graduation Rate Goal and Targets

To:Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:November 6, 2009


The U.S. Department of Education (USED) requires states to establish a statewide graduation rate goal and to set annual targets to reach that goal. Graduation rates are one of the factors used in determining whether a district is making adequate yearly progress (AYP).

In March 2009, the Board approved the following targets for the 2008-09 school year:

  • a four-year graduation rate of 65 percent applied to the 2008 graduation cohort, or
  • a five-year graduation rate of 70 percent applied to the 2007 graduation cohort, or
  • a two percentage point increase in the four-year graduation rate from the 2007 cohort to 2008 cohort.

We are currently analyzing district data from last year and developing a recommendation for our long-range state goal and for the intermediate targets for the 2009-10 and subsequent school years. This recommendation will be presented to you for your approval at the December Board meeting.

The reason for the earlier action this year is that USED is requiring us to participate in a peer review of our graduation rate methodology, which will begin in mid-January. I am confident that the methodology we have had in place since 2007 will stand up to a rigorous evaluation. Massachusetts was one of the first states in the country to calculate a four-year cohort rate that meets the current methodological requirements

Should you have any questions on this issue prior to our December meeting, please feel free to contact me or Robert Curtin, our Manager of Data Analysis and Reporting, at 781-338-3582.

Last Updated: November 12, 2009
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