A reader wrote in the following summary of how American graduation rates are calculated. Interestingly they seem to be in direct contrast to how Bermuda’s new calculations are performed.
In 2005 governors of all 50 American states signed the Graduation Counts Compact and committed to a common method for calculating each state’s high school graduation rate. In addition to agreeing to a common formula for calculating the graduation rate, the governors committed to leading efforts to improve state data collection, reporting, and analysis; reporting additional indicators of outcomes for students; and reporting annually on their progress toward improved high school graduation, completion, and dropout data. The governors undertook this commitment because they understand the imperative to gather more accurate, comparable data on how many of their students graduate from high school on time.
The States agreed to calculate the graduation rate by dividing the number of on-time graduates in a given year by the number of first-time entering ninth graders four years earlier. This is very different from the abbreviated accounting now used by Bermuda which shows a higher graduation rate.
The Graduation Counts Compact can be found here: http://www.nga.org/portal/site/nga/menuitem.9123e83a1f6786440ddcbeeb501010a0/?vgnextoid=f57c04493f5bc010VgnVCM1000001a01010aRCRD