Education Archive >> Posted 2013 >> By Limited English, Low-Income, Special Ed (2013)

Of students with limited English proficiency, just over half graduated on time.

Education is widely regarded as the great leveler, an “intervention” that pays off in higher wages and better health. Graduation from high school is a prerequisite for higher education and for most living-wage jobs. 

A new method of calculating on-time graduation tracks the same cohort of students through high school. Those who graduate with their class 4 years later are counted as graduating “on time.” To graduate in 2011-12, students had to pass high school proficiency exams in reading and writing; requirements for passing math and science end-of-course exams will be added between 2013 and 2015. 

In King County overall, 79.4% of students in the Class of 2012 graduated “on time” (in 4 years, with the same cohort of students with which they started high school).However, the proportion of King County students who started high school in the 2007-2008 school year and graduated with their class in 2012 varied by gender, English language proficiency, special education status, and family income (students who qualified for free or reduced-price school meals were considered low-income).

  • 76.4% of males graduated on time, compared to 82.5% of females.
  • Only 53% of students with limited English proficiency graduated on time.
  • 58.6% of special education students graduated on time.
  • Students who graduate after an additional year of study are added to their cohort’s graduation rolls and reported as “adjusted 5-year cohort rates.”  Statewide, graduation rates for the cohort of limited-English-proficiency students who started 9th grade in 2007-2008 increased from 51.0% in 2010-2011 (4-year rate) to 59.7% in 2011-2012 (5-year rate). (Data not shown.)

Statewide, of students who “successfully transitioned” from their districts’ English Language Learning programs (and were no longer classified as having limited English proficiency), the following proportions met state academic standards in 2011-2012:

  • Reading:  56.3% (vs. 72.7% in the state overall)
  • Writing:  61.4% (vs. 73.7% in the state overall)
  • Math:  56.1% (vs. 61.5% in the state overall)
  • Science:  38.6% (vs. 67.0% in the state overall)