Emails, DeEtta Culbertson, information specialist, Texas Education Agency, July 10 and 13, 2015

12:06 p.m.

July 10, 2015

Here’s what we know from that time frame:

Most states were not calculating cohort graduation rates in 2002. Some organizations calculated graduation rate estimates (e.g., cumulative promotion index) and other organizations ranked states on these estimates. But which ones, we do not have the information.

From: Gardner Selby

Date: Friday, July 10, 2015 at 2:28 PM

To: "Culbertson, DeEtta"

Subject: RE: Checking into graduation rate claim

Interesting. Did TEA issue a press release sometime after 2002 talking about how the Texas 2002 graduation rate compared to rates in other states?

3:35 p.m.

Checked and we didn't issue a press release on dropouts that year other than the standard accountability release in August.


From: Gardner Selby

Date: Friday, July 10, 2015 at 4:00 PM

To: "Culbertson, DeEtta"

<Subject: RE: Checking into graduation rate claim>

Got it. To be clear, TEA has no information on how the state was doing with its graduation rate in 2002 or on how it ranked nationally, correct?

If so, when did TEA start to have such information and such rankings and why?


9:22 a.m.

July 13, 2015

In the 2006-07 annual dropout report, TEA published national rankings on the NCES averaged freshman graduation rate, an attrition-based rate, not a cohort-based rate. For 2002-03, we ranked 29th along with Indiana on the averaged freshman graduation rate. Table 34 in the report at this link shows these results:

In January 2010, TEA published a brief on the National Governors Association “compact rate,” a four-year, adjusted cohort graduation rate. In that report, four-year graduation rates for 2007-08 were found for 16 states, and Texas was fourth highest among that group. The report showing these results is here:

These are the first TEA publications showing rankings on an attrition-based graduation rate estimate and on a cohort-based graduation rate tracking individual students.

In 2003, the Texas Legislature required TEA in TEC 39.053(c)(2)-(3) (2013) to compute dropout rates and graduation rates consistent with federal standards and definitions. Until NCLB required the use of a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate for adequate yearly progress determinations and established uniform standards in final regulations published in 2008, there was no mandated national graduation rate standard. It took some time for many states to develop the data collection and processing systems to calculate a rate based on four years of individual student level data.

Let me know if you need anything else.



DeEtta Culbertson

Texas Education Agency  

Division of Communications