LAS VEGAS -- Clark County School District's high school graduation rates for the Class of 2010 were adjusted sharply lower because of a new formula the U.S. Department of Education mandated for all states.
The Nevada Department of Education reported Thursday that the school district's graduation rate for the Class of 2010, the latest class for which data is available, was only 59.37 percent. That was slightly below the statewide graduation rate of nearly 62 percent and the lowest among Nevada's school districts.
The latest numbers are considerably below the 68.1 percent graduation rate the state education department posted on its website for Clark County and the 70.3 percent graduation rate for Nevada using a prior formula.
The new federal formula tracks students from the time they enter 9th grade through what should be their senior year but also accounts for students who transfer in and out of the district. The formula, known in education lingo as the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, is designed to more accurately measure the percentage of students who graduate in four years or less.
Prior federal graduation rate formulas have been unkind to Nevada. Using a now-outdated formula, the National Center for Education Statistics calculated in 2008 that Nevada's graduation rate was only 56.3 percent, worst in the nation.
As noted by the state education department, though, the problem with prior national rankings is that states used their own methods of calculating graduation rates, resulting in reports that could not be fairly compared nationally. Having said that, the state education department anticipated that the new federal formula would reflect a slightly lower graduation rate nationwide than previously thought.