The report, released this week, shows that 71 percent of students in West Virginia receive their high school diplomas, compared to a national graduation rate of 69 percent.
Diplomas Count is published annually by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center and Education Week, a national education magazine. This year’s report, produced with the support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, explores what it means to ensure that high school students graduate prepared for both higher education and the work place. The report shines a spotlight on “jobs with a future” and state polices for college and work readiness.
Diplomas Counts also indicates that West Virginia is one of only seven states that have defined college readiness and work readiness through courses, skills, standards and tests.
“This national study further supports our 21st Century Learning initiative,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “While we know our students must develop learning proficiency in the core subjects that have been the bedrock of America’s education, we also know that these core subjects must be joined by content of the 21st century so that students can succeed in college and the work place.”
In 2005, West Virginia became the second state in the nation to join the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The Partnership's framework puts a special emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, global awareness and business literacy. West Virginia has adopted six elements of 21st century learning that focus not only on the basics like math, science and reading, but also skills backed by the Partnership.
Diplomas Count estimated graduation rates across the nation based on the Cumulative Promotion Index. West Virginia has even more accurate data as part of its West Virginia Education Information System (WVEIS). Students in the state have a unique identification number so they can be tracked throughout their time in public schools.
“Our figures indicate that our graduation rate is actually 84 percent,” Paine said. “Thanks to principals, teachers and parents, our students have the support system needed not only to successfully complete high school but to also excel in college and the work place.”
For the full Diplomas Count 2007 report, visit www.edweek.org or contact the West Virginia Department of Education Communications Office at (304) 558-2699.