October 10, 2008

Three-Fourths of Valley’s Students Graduate on Time

By Anna L. Mallory [email protected] 381-8627

At least 76 percent of students in each of the New River Valley's five school systems are graduating on time, according to a new formula the Virginia Department of Education uses to track the number of students who graduate from high school on time.

The formula, used for the first time this year, tracks students who entered the ninth grade four years ago and includes students who transferred in and out of the system. A spokesman for the department said the rate is the most reliable calculation to date, although it is different from the graduation statistics the federal government uses.

According to the state's calculation, in Montgomery County 79.6 percent of the 822 students tracked the past four years graduated on time. Of those, 626 received either an advanced or standard diploma. Using another, school-reported figure, the division says 96 percent of its students graduated.

Nelson Simpkins, the county's director of secondary education, said the state's figures add an aspect of accountability for schools and will help track down students who had otherwise fallen through the cracks.

The state recognizes five different diplomas for students to graduate.

All of Radford's students received advanced or standard diplomas, with 85 percent of the 129 students graduating on time, according to the figures.

In Pulaski and Giles counties, 76 percent graduated on time, whereas 85 percent of Floyd County's 179 students did.

-- Anna L. Mallory

(c) 2008 Roanoke Times & World News. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.