Five New England States are collaborating on the improvement of the accuracy of public education data and making it easier to share information across state lines.
The New England Secondary School Consortium, made up of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, has been collecting and reporting on high school graduation rates, dropout rates and other data including college enrollment and retention rates, since 2009 through its Common Data Project.
"We are very pleased to have agreement in this five-state consortium on use of common metrics to measure outcomes," said John Fischer, deputy secretary of the state Agency of Education.
Many states do measure performance at their high schools through various metrics, but because they tend to vary from state to state, it often leads to comparisons between how one state is performing over another that are not always accurate.
New Hampshire Education Commissioner Virginia Barry said the data will offer a greater insight into the educational conditions in existence in each of the five states.
According to the most recently released data, all five states show an increase in their graduation rates over a four-year span. Vermont came in first with the highest rate of 86.6%, just above New Hampshire, which came in at 86.4%. Vermont was about 7 points higher than Rhode Island, who came in last place with 79.7%.
The average graduation rate over all five states was 86%.
Overall graduation rates, including those for students who graduated in five or six years, began with students had entered high school in the fall of 2007. Vermont had the highest rate with 91%.
Meanwhile, in terms of college enrollment and retention, Vermont came in behind the other states with only 52% of its high school graduates going on to attend college. That percentage is 7 points below the five-state average of 59.2% and 15 points below Connecticut, writes Josh O'Gorman for The Rutland Herald.
The state also featured the second-lowest rate of students who stay in college, determined by the number of freshmen who stay in college for at least three semesters. Vermont was found to have 80.6% of its freshmen stay in college, only slightly above the 77.7% of Rhode Island freshmen, and 2 percentage points below the five-state average of 82.6%.
"These reports signify a huge step forward in regional collaboration," said Beth Miller, director of research and evaluation for the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. "The data in these reports have been critical to the foundation as we measure college readiness in the region, and I'm sure many other organizations and individuals will find the reports equally significant."