We Need Benchmarks for Graduation Rates

If I told you that a business had an annual turnover rate of 50 percent, would you think that business is run well? What if I told you that this business was a fast-food restaurant? Without benchmarks, such statistics can lead to various interpretations. 

With that analogy in mind, on the NAS site I argue for an honest discussion on graduation-rate benchmarks. 

At the most basic level of debate, a high graduation rate can signal good teaching or low rigor. A low rate can signal bad teaching or high rigor. Regardless of where one stands on this issue, what is important is that this discussion takes place, because without a valid benchmark, drawing conclusions from a graduation rate of 45 percent for a certain group in a certain school is nothing more than a Potemkin Village.

Most Popular


Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More