Thursday, August 16, 2001

N.Ky. schools fare well on nonacademic indicators

By Lori Hayes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The number of Kentucky's dropouts is growing, but fewer students are skipping school or being held back.

        And more students are entering college or the work force after graduation, according to 2000 figures released Wednesday by the Kentucky Department of Education.

        In addition to tests, Kentucky schools are judged on their attendance, dropout, retention and transition rates. These “nonacademic indicators” are factored into schools' total accountability scores under Kentucky's testing system.

        The nonacademic data accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of schools' overall score depending on grade.

        Northern Kentucky schools posted better rates than state averages in all four areas:

        • Region 4's 14-county area, which includes Boone, Campell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton and Pendleton counties, holds the lowest dropout rate in the state, 3.12 percent. Statewide, the dropout rate increased from 4.91 to 5.06 last year.

        Two of the state's six high schools with a dropout rate of zero are in Northern Kentucky: Walton-Verona and Beechwood. Dayton High School has the region's highest dropout rate at 8.63.

        • The state's average attendance rate increased from 93.89 to 94.19. Region 4 schools have an average attendance of 94.84 percent.

        In Northern Kentucky, Fort Thomas and Beechwood Independent Schools had the second and third highest attendance rates in the state at 96.93 and 96.88 respectively. Gallatin County and Covington Independent schools posted the area's lowest rates at 93.01 and 93.24 respectively.

        • Kentucky's retention rate — the number of students held back a grade — dropped from 4.03 to 3.98. For ninth-graders, who are typically held back more often than any other grade, the retention rate decreased from 12.55 to 11.84.

        Gallatin County had the highest rate in the state at 12.4.

        • Up a fraction of a point, 95.3 percent of graduates went on to college, the military, work force or other training. That rate was 96.51 for Region 4.

        Thirty-six high schools around the state had 100 percent transition rates, including Beechwood, Highlands, Silver Grove, Walton-Verona and Williamstown High.


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