Arizona Board of Regents Report for the Class of 2010

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

I missed the release of the Arizona Board of Regents College Completion report back in April, this time covering the Class of 2010. The chart above shows the four-year college completion rate after six years for the top 10 schools. For those of you scoring at home, that would be 7 charter schools, one district magnet school (University High) and two comprehensive district schools (Catalina Foothills in Tucson and Chaparral in Scottsdale). All 10 of these schools represent choice options, with seven of them using random assignment admission lotteries, one employing placement tests and minimum GPA admission requirements, and the final two mostly for those who can afford pricey real estate.

Overall the news is not good. Only 27.1 percent of the statewide Arizona Class of 2010 earned either a four or two-year degree after six years. This is a lagging indicator, but a very important one. As is the case with the NAEP data, the chart above reinforces a case for a Cheers theme song theory for more small schools, you know, where everybody knows your name:

When you are tracking six year results from cohorts from seven years ago, they are by definition a time capsule. For instance these results come before the recent surge in NAEP scores. It certainly is not the case that only people with degrees contribute to society at all, and it might make sense to track the earning of professional certifications and military service in addition to higher education results. With the state’s age demography challenge unfolding we must continue to find ways to improve the productivity of education spending.


5 Responses to Arizona Board of Regents Report for the Class of 2010

  1. Michael J. Norton says:

    It is easy for many to reverse the cause and effect theories coming from a review of the 2010 Time Capsule. In 2010, enrollment at Charters was still minuscule compared to today. Graduating classes were even tinier.

    It is at least possible that the 6 year followup look at those students is more about the choices of the best and brightest to go hang out together in a small environment campus than the impact of that campus on their future.

    To be honest, I am far more impressed by Chaparral’s performance than by BASIS. Chap has to deal with the Jeff Spicoli’s of the high school world. BASIS? Nah.

    We’re already seeing schools like Great Hearts fall back to the pack as they increase enrollment dramatically. We’re also seeing public schools in Scottsdale, in particular, respond to the competition improving on performance at even the top SUSD schools. Cheyenne Traditional in particular.

    The lesson we’re learning is that no matter which platform you choose, if the entire school community wants it badly you get a great education. Buy-In is contagious.

    • matthewladner says:

      From the sound of the AZ Republic story on the board meeting regarding the demographic report, it sounds like the Scottsdale Spicoli types are dropping out of schoo…er, enrolling in online learning programs.

  2. Greg Forster says:

    Matt, you are under arrest for violating the Denominator Law.

    I’m setting bail at the following: Provide a baseline against which these college graduation rates can be evaluated.

  3. matthewladner says:

    So the statewide average for 4 year degrees in 6 years was 20.5%.

    • Greg Forster says:

      62% looks great next to that, don’t you think? Or what is the standard by which we view 62% as inadequate?

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