Once again, Cranky (aka John Butcher) has gone where no man has gone before, plumbing the statistical depths of Virginia Department of Education data in search of answers to questions that no one else but he and I seem to be asking.
Last week I cited data showing significant high school grade inflation nationally since 1998, even as SAT scores were trending lower. I wondered what the numbers looked like in Virginia. Responding to that question in his blog, Cranky found a parallel divergence between the rising percentage of Virginians graduating with “advanced” diplomas and the sliding percentage of end-of-course (EOC) standardized tests.
That divergence can be seen in the chart above, taken from his blog. (Writing, history, science, and math EOCs showed divergences as well, as can be seen by scrolling down his blog post.)
Whatever is going on here – and the process is so byzantine that an outsider might despair to understand it – it is clear that the average graduation rate, especially of advanced diplomas, is not constrained by the EOC pass rates. If anything, the graduation rates and pass rates are going in different directions.
Bacon mentions grade inflation. This looks like diploma inflation somewhere outside the verified credit process.
One possible explanation for the divergence is that the smart kids are getting smarter (more of them graduating with advanced degrees) and the dumb kids are getting dumber (not passing end-of-year SOLs.) Another explanation is that, given the intense political pressure to show improving performance, grade inflation is being accompanied by diploma inflation, as Cranky suggests. It would be helpful to know if one of these explanations reflects Virginia’s educational reality.There are currently no comments highlighted.