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Top 3 Questions When Evaluating High School Graduates

As we turn down the proverbial homestretch of the academic year what questions should we be asking soon-to-be high school graduates? John McLaughlin, Ph.D. believes we should be looking at the quality of graduates in a world where we raise/lower standards and then boast reductions in drop out cases. 

McLaughlin’s Take

It’s not rocket science, we raise graduation rates by lowering requirements and eliminating high stakes test as Alabama and most states have done.

Credit should be given to private groups like Communities in Schools that mentors at-risk students toward graduation and Ombudsman Educations Services which specializes in educating at-risk students – in face OES raised the graduation rates of one rural Georgia district by 9% in a two year period.

Yes, graduation is important, but high schools should be measured on the quality of graduates.

Questions to Ponder

  1. How many graduates continue education – college, vocational school?
  2. How many graduates require remedial services?
  3. How many graduates are admitted to the military, to craft apprenticeships?

Having graduates who are college or career ready has real savings for taxpayers and real value for the graduate.

-John McLaughlin, Ph.D.

John McLaughlinJohn M. McLaughlin, Ph.D., directs the Research & Analytics unit of ChanceLight Behavioral Health and Education, which evaluates initiatives, provides reviews of literature, examines specific performance inquiries for school district partners, and conducts and publishes original research. With a background in research design and far-reaching industry connections, John has written extensively about the interface of public education and private capital, and, with Mark Claypool, he is co-author of We’re in This Together: Public-Private Partnerships in Special and At-Risk Education, a book that explores public-private partnerships in education and behavioral learning. With Mark, he is writing a book about autism and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Before joining the company in 1999, John published the influential Education Industry Report and was a tenured associate professor of educational administration. In 1977, he founded Benton Hall Academy, a school in the Nashville area for students in need of a small and caring environment.

Photo credit: Mark Laita

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