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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

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For Immediate Release: March 14, 2007

Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson
Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson

Senate Passes Bill to Clarify State Graduation Rates, Establish Goal of 100 Percent

The full Senate has approved a measure to set a graduation goal of 100 percent for Oklahoma high school students. Senate Bill 985, by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson, would also establish guidelines to give a more accurate picture of graduation rates that will enable an “apples to apples” comparison with other states.

“Right now, the stated goal for Oklahoma is a graduation rate of 68 percent—that’s the goal filed as required under ‘No Child Left Behind’ and it will remain in effect through 2014,” said Wilcoxson, R-Oklahoma City. “Senate Bill 985 sets the goal at 100 percent by that year. We expect all high school students to graduate.”

The legislation also would set new guidelines for determining actual graduation rates. Wilcoxson, Co-chair of the Senate Education Committee, said those guidelines were contained in a compact agreed upon by the National Governors Association so that states would have a uniform means of compiling data that would allow for accurate comparisons. Wilcoxson said even within Oklahoma, when trying to look at graduation rates, the percentages in any given report may be vastly different from one another because different criteria are used.

“This is a problem not only in Oklahoma, but across the nation. Some states base their graduation rate on how many seniors begin the school year and then compare it to how many finish. Some count students who don’t actually get their diplomas, but get a GED, and that’s not the same,” Wilcoxson said. “Under these proposed new guidelines, we’ll compare the number of freshmen at the beginning of that year to the actual number of seniors graduating. That will give us a more accurate picture.”

SB 985 next moves to the House of Representatives for committee action.

For more information contact:
Senator Wilcoxson's Office - (405) 521-5618

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