NoDropouts.org published an article that highlights some of the challenges when using standard traditional school metrics to measure student outcomes. The article is entitled “Why We Can’t Measure Dropout Recovery Students the Same Way as We Measure Others.”
The article points to recent data on earned credits of dropout retrieval programs in the Duval County School District. There are several problematic contextual issues that skewed the district’s presented data which looked at an average of the number of credits earned by students within a school year:
- MYcroSchool is an open entry open exit program. This means students can enroll at any time during the year and exit (graduate) at any time during the year. Students are not on semester timelines, but on their own individualized course timelines. Therefore, students who enrolled with MYcroSchool late in the school year would not have a chance to complete any credits by the end of the school year.
- The data included a percentage of students who did not earn 3 credits within the school year. As a dropout recovery program, many students are only in need of one or two credits to graduate. So, that is another segment that would have earned less than 3 credits within the school year.
- At MYcroSchool there are students who need to take longer to get up to grade level in their basic academic skills. More than a third of MYcroSchool Jacksonville students are ESE students who enter with reading and math skills in the 4th-5th grade level range.
- And, the lack of detail around the data and the limited presentation of only averages are problematic. Some students may drop out within a few days resulting in 0 credits. It would have been helpful to only look at students who have been in the program for an “engagement period of days” to evaluate the school. Additional detail as to the course types and rigor of the earned credits would have been constructive.
Dropout recovery is challenging work, but MYcroSchool has proven it is up to the challenge. The students MYcroSchool serves have been not only out of school, but also out of work, and out of hope. MYcroSchool is honored to give them a high-quality place to go for a second chance at their education.