Capital Region high school graduation rates

Albany High

Albany High School has some room for improvement

The state Department of Education released data about high school graduation rates this week.

We picked through the data to pull out the relevant info about Capital Region schools. Some of the numbers are a little shocking.

A quick note about the data
"Graduation rate" counts students from the 2004 cohort who graduated with a Regents or local degree as of August 2008 (four school years plus one summer). "Dropped out" is students who did not get a degree, did not transfer to a GED program or are not still enrolled.

First up, the whole list for the Capital Region, sorted highest to lowest. Breakdowns by county follow that. And then a few notes.

Capital Region

Albany County

Rensselaer County

Saratoga County

Schenectady County


+ North Colonie and Niskayuna tied for the highest graduation rate at 93 percent.

+ Schenectady had the lowest graduation rate at 52 percent.

+ Berlin and Watervliet reported the highest drop rate at 22 percent.


Some folks might take this as fuel on the fire that urban schools are in dire shape (which is sort of true depending on you're socio-economic background) and are bad places to send kids (which is sort of true for the same reason). Because there are several factors that contribute to graduation rate, I'd be interested to see some closer examination between Albany's graduation rates between "school" level, "regents" level, and "honors" level students. I'm also curious how these schools compare when national honor's society and merit awards are compared. (You don't have to compare these, AOA - I'm just thinking out load... on the keyboard.... silently.)

That said, I think Albany has a remarkable school system, and the graduation rate should not be the only factor that illustates good schools.

Calculating graduation rates based on a kid starting in 2004 and finishing at the same school in 2008 is misleading, at best. It doesn't tell you how many of those original kids actually got a degree.

For example, if I started high school in Schenectady in 2004, but moved to Albany in 2007 and graduated there? Its a strike against Schenectady, when they nothing wrong.

There should be a better measurement that takes into account a transient population. Why isn't there a way to track kids state-wide?

@ Abby - as someone who works in the education biz, I can tell you, there is a way to track kids state-wide. Capturing graduation rate is always a challenge, but it's nothing compared to getting accurate drop-out information.

The one that stands out to me is Berne/Knox/Westerlo with a 1% drop out rate and only an 84% graduation rate. Unreal.

That and the 'best' only graduate 93%.

Would be interesting to see the stats for the private schools added in there too. But I'm sure their grad rate is closer to 100%

Thank you AOA for actually explaining how a graduation rate is defined. I am a parent of kids in the Albany City School District, and I have been somewhat distressed at the graduation rates. But knowing that the rate is actually looking at the percentage of a cohort group that enters together in 9th grade who remain to graduate from the same school four years later makes me feel much better. The students at Albany's public schools are much more transient than those in suburban areas and towns where more people are home owners than renters. I know that even at the elementary school level, my kids "graduated" from elementary school with only about 30-40% of the kids they started with.

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