Superintendent's Memo #092-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

April 23, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Cohort Reports - Elimination of Unconfirmed Status in Public Reports Beginning with Graduating Class of 2010

Since the fall of 2008, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has published annual state-level, division-level and school-level cohort reports that detail outcomes for students who entered the ninth-grade for the first time together and were scheduled to graduate four years later. These reports included a category for students whose status was unconfirmed at the time the report was published. The data for these students were reported properly to the state. However, due to the reporting rules in early years of the Student Record Collection, students' actual final status could not be determined with available state data. Therefore, the most accurate reporting of the students' status was in a separate category called "unconfirmed."

Beginning with students who entered ninth grade for the first time in the 2006-2007 school year, VDOE's longitudinal data system captured sufficient data to confirm the status of all students. Now the only reason a student's status would remain unconfirmed is due to errors in data reported by a school division to VDOE. Therefore, beginning with the four-year cohort report published for the graduating class of 2010, any student whose status appears "unconfirmed" will be counted and reported in public documents as a dropout.

VDOE will retain the unconfirmed status in the authorized-use only reports provided to school divisions via the Single Sign-On for Web Systems (SSWS) On-Time Graduation Rate application. These reports are intended to support school divisions' work to identify and correct all data errors prior to the publication of each year's cohort reports.

If you have any questions about your data or need assistance with data corrections within your cohort reports, please contact the Office of Educational Information Management via e-mail at ResultsHelp@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 786-3112 option 4. Other questions can be directed to Dr. Deborah Jonas, executive director for research and strategic planning via e-mail at: Deborah.Jonas@doe.virginia.gov.

PIW/dlj