Top education leader critical of reports on high Alabama graduation rate

Top education leader critical of reports on high Alabama graduation rate

ALABAMA (WAFF) - A top state education leader says a recent White House report showing Alabama has the third-highest high school graduation rate in the country does not tell the whole story.

The report, released earlier this week, shows more than 89 percent of Alabama high students are receiving their diplomas. But Alabama State School Board member Mary Scott Hunter has some concerns.

She directed us to the Alabama Department of Education.

A spokesperson for that organization reported statistics showing graduate rates are improving. However, the college and career readiness of these graduating students is at 70 percent, again, nowhere near the more than 89 percent that are actually receiving diplomas.

Education leaders determine college and career readiness using different indicators:

  • A benchmark score on any of four ACT tests
  • A passing score (3,4,or 5) on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam
  • A passing score (4,5,6, or 7) on an International Baccalaureate (IB) exam
  • Silver, Gold, or Platinum level on ACT WorkKeys
  • Earning college credit while still in high school
  • Passing an industry credentialing test
  • Acceptance for enlistment into the military

"What it says is that all of these students who are graduating, taking their diploma, have met some minimum standards that we've set. They've passed their class work and that represents a significant achievement for many students so I don't want to downplay that at all. But that said there's still a lot of students that aren't meeting our aspirational goals," said Mary Scott Hunter.

Alabama trailed only New Jersey and Iowa in the White House report for top graduating rates in the country.

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