The Numbers Behind LCS Graduation Rates Raise Questions

The Numbers Behind LCS Graduation Rates Raise Questions

In a recent press release, Leon County Schools noted that the graduation rates for 2018-2019 had reached 92.4% and ranked fifth in the state of Florida when compared to the other school districts.

“Once again, I am beaming with pride over our district’s graduation rate. Today we celebrate the hard work of our teachers and the success of our students. I am grateful for everyone who played a part in this accomplishment,” said Superintendent Rocky Hanna.

However, a closer look at the numbers behind the graduation rates raises several questions. Questions that have yet to be answered by LCS.

First, it appears that over the last four years more and more students are graduating without passing the regular class assessments. These class assessments are the language arts portion of the Florida Standards Assessment exam and the “end-of-course” (EOC) exam for Algebra 1.

Rather than pass the assessments, students are taking alternative tests to meet the graduation requirements. Students have the option of using alternative tests like the SAT or ACT to meet those high-school graduation standards.

For example, a 420 on the SAT math section can be substituted for the Algebra 1 EOC. However, state officials have argued that these alternative tests are not consistent with recently adopted education standards and have advocated a change.

LCS provided data to TR that shows the number of graduates that satisfied the state approved graduation test requirement through alternative testing has increased 291% from 129 in 2015/16 to 505 in 2018/19.

This means that the percentage of students that graduated from LCS through alternative testing has increased from 6.4% in 2015/16 to 21.8% in 2018/19.

Not surprisingly, the number of graduating students that took the traditional route to graduation and were coded “met all requirements” and passed the regular assessments, has decreased each year from 2015/16 through 2018/19.

TR has requested a meeting to discuss these numbers. However, LCS has yet to provide TR access to any employee with knowledge of the numbers.

A second question relates to the impact of home school students on the graduation rate.

Per FDOE regulations, home school students are removed from the cohort and do not count against the graduation rate. However, recent reporting by TR found that a number of home school students were out of compliance.

The reporting revealed that over 33% of Leon County’s 2,346 students enrolled in home school failed to comply with home school annual evaluation requirements. Some of the students have been out of compliance for one or more years. 

An audit completed by Leon County Schools found that these students should have been withdrawn due to failure to comply with the evaluation requirements.

Was this considered in the calculation of the graduation rates? If so, how?

TR will continue to seek answers to these questions from LCS.

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9 Responses to "The Numbers Behind LCS Graduation Rates Raise Questions"

  1. Avatar
    Snidely Whiplash   January 29, 2020 at 10:27 am

    I suggest Rocky get a big ‘Ole wad of that HAH HAH money ( which by the way is perfectly legal) use the money to buy some mid level bureaucrat out there in LCS’s Pensacola ST offices a brand new Nissan Versa or some such cheap @ss car in order to agree to backdate and crank out some good enough data to get LCS out of the spotlight from Steve’s constant digging up of new dirt.
    That HAH HAH money can work wonders you know. And oh by the way did I mention that the HAH HAH money is perfectly legal?
    Nothing to see here…move along now.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Beth Overholt   January 29, 2020 at 11:08 am

    The FSA and EOC Algebra tests should not be tied to graduation at all. The testing should inform instruction and go back to fill in the gaps these students are missing. My daughter did not take the FSA test since 7th grade and used the alternative test, the ACT which she would be taking anyway to get into college. Currently, the standards are being changed by the Governor since the current Sunshine State Standards have been a huge failure. Parents have long and loudly complained about the convoluted ways to do math. The statewide test scores have not improved, especially for minority groups. I have been working for years to reduce the number of tests the students take unles the test helps the teacher in the classroom. Want to know more then join Opt Out Leon County Facebook page.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    TONY   January 29, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    If they are able to make a 420 on an SAT or ACT Test then, why not give them the Same Test as everyone else OR are you only looking at the Total Score and NOT the Scores of each part of the SAT / ACT Test?

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    LB   January 29, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Well, Rocky–you’re doing the fine and transparent job that we all expected of you. NOT.

    Teachers–you have the audacity to “demand” a raise? Respectfully, do your jobs first.

    Parents–get off of your collective as** and work with your kids to achieve. Take away the phones, the I-Pads, and the cars until they do. You are each raising someone to function as an adult, not to remain a child.

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    Mark   January 29, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    Rocky Hanna and staff influenced the graduation rate by falsifying
    students to home school rather than withdrawn. He and his staff have
    allowed Godby and Rickards to place students in AP courses rather than
    courses that require a state test thus influencing the school grade in
    a way to offer monetary rewards to the schools for borderline cheating, certainly unethical behavior.

    Now Rocky and his staff of highly paid political appointees by Rocky, sworn to uphold the unethical behavior of Rocky, want us to believe that students can pass the ACT and the SAT but thy cannot pass the state test? Only in Rockyville does this logic make any sense Rocky you are saying the curriculum that is taught is aligned to ACT or SAT but not state standards? Again, Rocky the world you live along with the logic and or advice you are given is childlike thinking. Maybe if you tell enough lies it becomes normal.

    Rocky, in your world it is ok to date teachers, it is ok to lie to state and federal officials, it is ok to not pay child support for 10
    years. You and your leadership team live in a strange unethical world void of common sense and ethics.

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    TONY   January 30, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Here is a Thought…….. if all they need is a Combined Score of 420 on the SAT’s, why not make them ALL take the SAT’s to Graduate. Many of the Students have to take them to get into College anyway, the Test is Up Dated pretty much Yearly and the LCS / LCSB wont have to worry about it any more. It’s a WIN – WIN for everyone.

    Reply
  7. Avatar
    JimB   January 30, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Many states have already gone to the ACT/SAT for fulfilling state requirements. Makes way more sense as these tests are fully vetted and the kids have to pay to take them anyway. The problem is that you have these test making companies with huge lobbies that do not want to do the common sense and most effective testing. Both major tests Break down their sections into all the testing components, such as science, history, algebra 1 and 2.

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Stewart’s Blog: Hanna, LCS Will Not Answer Questions About Graduation Rates. – Tallahassee Reports

  9. Avatar
    James   February 14, 2020 at 11:13 am

    I guess Rocky is right again. Now the state will be requiring SAT/ACT to graduate. People are hating but he is doing a great job.

    Reply

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