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Completers, Dropouts, Cohort, and Transfer Certifications
ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: 14
TO: Superintendents of Schools
Validation and certification of completers, dropouts and transfers from the 2008/09 school year must be completed by October 15, 2009. Validation and certification of the expected year of graduation (cohort) for every student in grades 9 through 12 in the current school year (2009/10) and the graduating students from the last school year (2008/09) must be completed by November 15, 2009.
Topics in this letter:
Explanation of Maine’s new graduation rate
Beginning with the 2009/10 school year, Maine will be using the new NCLB (No Child Left Behind) graduation rate formula to calculate graduation rate for the 2008/09 school year. The intent of this federal regulation is to standardize methodologies across states and to provide more consistency in reporting and comparisons across states.
The NCLB graduation rate will also serve as the graduation rate that is used in AYP determinations for the 2009/10 school year. This cohort rate is calculated by taking the number of students who entered ninth grade for the first time and received a regular high school diploma by the end of their fourth year, and dividing that number by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for that graduating class.
More detailed information for deriving the adjusted cohort and the NCLB graduation rate formula can be obtained from the Maine Department of Education document titled “School Administrators Guide to Maine’s New High School Graduation Rate Calculations” which can be found at
The difference between the NCLB graduation rate and the NGA graduation rate
The four-year NCLB graduation rate is similar but not identical to the NGA rate. The NGA rate permits special education students and recent immigrant students with limited English proficiency (LEP) to be assigned to different cohorts to allow them more time to graduate, while the NCLB rate does not allow for such “cohort reassignment.” The NGA rate also permits students who graduate with modified high school diplomas (GEDs) to count as graduates, while the NCLB graduation rate does not.
Validation and certification of Completers and Dropouts Reports
The Completers Report (Graduates) lists students who have completed high school in the administrative unit. The Dropouts Report lists, by grade level, students who have dropped out of schools in the administrative unit. Only school administrative units that have schools that graduate secondary students need to review and certify these reports. The Completers Report will also display the cohort year so you can determine not only if the student is listed as a graduate but also if the student is listed as an “on-time” graduate (graduated within 4 years).
At this point a dialog box will appear on your screen with the question “Do you want to open or save this file?” We recommend that you “save” this file to an appropriate place on your computer or network drive.
If you do not agree with the reports as stated, make your recommended changes in the actual Excel report. Save your file on your computer, then email it as an attachment to Richard.Bergeron@maine.gov . If your recommended changes are accepted, we will make the modifications you requested. In either case, you will be notified once the changes were either accepted or denied so that you can then print off an updated report that you can then certify.
Important: Do not send in a signed certification for either the Completers Report or the Dropouts Report unless the data within it are completely accurate. These will be the counts used in determining the school graduation rate.
Validation and certification of students who transfer-in and transfer-out of the 2008-09 cohort
In addition to the Completers and Dropouts certifications, schools must now also certify which students are transferred into the cohort and which students are transferred out of the cohort. Only school administrative units that have schools that graduate secondary students need to review and certify this report. To accomplish this, each student must have a properly coded End Status as well as a properly coded Start Status within the Infinite Campus State Edition (ICSE).
To validate which students will be counted as transfer-in and which students will be counted as transfer-out, print off both reports titled Cohort Transfer-In Report and Cohort Transfer-Out Report from within the Infinite Campus State Edition (ICSE) listed under the ME State Reporting/Graduation Certification Reports section. These reports will list only students in grades 9 through 12 that the Maine Department of Education considers Transfer-Ins and Transfer-Outs. If there are any modifications/additions/deletions to be made to the Transfer-In list, send the Excel spreadsheet of the report with your corrections as an attachment to Richard.Bergeron@maine.gov by October 15, 2009.
If there are modifications to be made to the Transfer-Out list, send the Excel spreadsheet of the report with your corrections as an attachment to Richard.Bergeron@maine.gov by October 15, 2009.
Important: Do not sign off on the signature page for the Cohort Transfer-Out or the signature page for the Cohort Transfer-In unless the data are accurate. These are the counts that will be used in calculation of the dropout rate.
Validation and certification of the NGA and NCLB cohort
Each student in grades 9 through 12 must be assigned a cohort (expected year of graduation). This cohort is located on the Graduation tab of the student’s record within Infinite Campus State Edition.
Whereas this is the first year of collecting these data, the Maine Department of Education will populate this field for every student based on our records of when we considered the student to be a first time 9th grader. In future years, the cohort field will automatically be populated upon the student’s first enrollment in grade 9.
The NCLB cohort cannot be modified by the school administrative units. You should, however, print off the report titled Cohort Report located within Infinite Campus State Edition under the section called ME State Reporting/Graduation Certification Reports and go through the students listed. Only school administrative units that have schools that graduate secondary students need to review and certify this report. If a modification, addition, or deletion needs to be made, make your changes in the Excel spreadsheet, save it to your computer and send this report as an email attachment to Richard.Bergeron@maine.gov . Do not sign off on the report unless all the information within it is accurate.
The NGA cohort can be modified by the school administrative units in the following cases only:
These are the only two conditions under which modifying the cohort is allowed. It is recommended that you maintain the proper documentation to support a modification, for purposes of a potential audit. If you find the cohort is incorrectly assigned to this student and these conditions do not apply, the procedure to modify the cohort is the same as the one described for the NCLB cohort earlier in this section.
Once all the information on the Cohort Report is accurate, fax the complete report with proper signature to 207-624-5053. This certification is due November 15, 2009.
The impact of the NCLB graduation rate on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
The graduation rate published the week of February 15, 2010 will be utilized for AYP determinations for the 2009/10 school year. The Maine Department of Education has been utilizing a “trajectory” goal approach for its graduation rate for AYP purposes, based on the previous method of graduation rate calculation. Maine’s AYP Workbook is being updated and revised to incorporate the shift to the new NCLB graduation rate.
The graduation rate for 2008/09 school year will be available for school administrative unit review the week of January 16, 2010
The graduation rate calculation will be made available to school administrative units for “secure” review not later than the week of January 16, 2010. The NCLB graduation rate represents a different calculation method from previous years and school units may see a lower rate than reported in the past. For questions regarding any irregularities, contact Rachelle Tome, Maine Department of Education, telephone number (207) 624-6705 or email email@example.com . As a reminder, data certified on October 15, 2009 and November 15, 2009 will become the data of record.
The graduation rate for 2008/09 school year will be published the week of February 15, 2010
The official graduation rate for schools/ school administrative units will be made public on the Maine Department of Education website the week of February 15, 2010.
Training Informational Webinars
Training/Informational webinars will be available to help users understand the following:
To register, visit http://moodle.slds.me , and click on Just-in-Time Training/Using Verification Reports. You will see GradCohort sessions listed for October 7, 2009.
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