Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates

Four-Year and Extended-Year Timeframes


2009-10 and Beyond


Over the past several years, efforts have been made nationally to establish a uniform and accurate high school graduation rate formula that is comparable across States. Multiple formulas have been used by various organizations resulting in rates that differ widely, all attempting to produce estimates consistent with perceived community definitions of these rates. With improvements in student tracking systems nationwide, greater standardization is possible and rates can now be calculated based on the actual high school experiences of students rather than on estimates. Federal Title I regulations were revised in October 2008 establishing a 4-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate formula that must be used nationally beginning with 2009-10 graduation rates.

This page summarizes Title I requirements and implementation plans for Wisconsin. Implementation details are still being researched and discussed. Updates will be added to this page as they become available.

FormulasDefinitions | Public Reporting | Accountability | Data Sources | Adjusted Cohort Checklist | More



The Four-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates will be calculated as follows:

  • Numerator: number of "students who graduate in four years" with a regular high school diploma.
  • Demonimator: number of students in the "adjusted cohort" for that graduating class.

The Extended-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate will be calculated using a parallel formula.

  • Numerator: number of "students who graduate within the extended timeframe" with a regular high school diploma.
  • Denominator: number of students in the "adjusted cohort" which accounts for students who enter or are removed from the cohort within the extended timeframe.


Students who graduate in four years" means students who earn a regular diploma at the conclusion of their fourth year, before the conclusion of their fourth year (including those who graduate early), or during a summer session immediately following their fourth year.

Students who graduate within the extended timeframe" means students who earn a regular diploma at the conclusion of their extended year timeframe, before the conclusion of that timeframe (including those who graduate in earlier years), or during a summer session immediately following the extended timeframe.

"Adjusted cohort" for a school includes any student "assigned to a cohort" on or before enrollment in that school/district who is not subsequently removed from the cohort before the end of the four-year or extended-year timeframe. To remove a student from a cohort, a school/district must confirm in writing that the student transferred out, emigrated to another country, or is deceased. For transfers to another WI public school, ISES provides the required documentation.

"Assignment to a cohort" is based on two factors:

  • School year of student's first high school enrollment period (using ISES YE records)
  • Student’s grade level placement at the time of that first high school enrollment period.

{C} Once a student is assigned to a cohort, that cohort is used statewide and is permanent. For each graduation timeframe, whether that timeframe is four years or more than four years, each cohort is associated with a school year during or before which a student is expected to graduate.


What Must Be Included. The October 2008 Title I regulations (see Section 200.19) require Wisconsin and other states to report four-year adjusted cohort graduation rates, disaggregated by student group, at the school, district, and State levels beginning with 2009-10 rates. Extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rates may also be reported, upon approval of the the U. S. Department of Education. The method used to calculate these rates is described in detail in the Title I regulations and guidance. Wisconsin intends to seek approval for use of six-year adjusted cohort graduation rates and begin reporting with 2011-12 rates.

Most Current Report. See the most current graduation rates available. Click on "Change school or district" to see school or district level data. Click on any "View By" option above the graph to see disaggregated reports. Beginning with 2009-10 rates, Wisconsin plans to provide options to view both 4-Year Adjusted Cohort Rates and Extended-Year Rates. See draft report mockup for 2009-10 rates. Until 2011-12, Extended-Year Rates will be based on a formula in use since 2003-04.


Goals and Targets. The October 2008 Title I regulations require Wisconsin and other states to set a single graduation rate goal that represents the rate the State expects all high schools in the State to meet and graduation rate targets that reflect continuous and substantial improvement from the prior year. Changes in Wisconsin's goal and targets consistent with the October 2008 regulations and more recent federal interpretations were incorporated in Wisconsin's Adequate Yearly Progress definition, beginning in 2009-10. Wisconsin plans to review and adjust the goals and targets after Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates become available.

Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates. Wisconsin and other states must use disaggregated 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rates in making 2011-12 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations (when Wisconsin's 2010-11 graduation rates are available). Wisconsin intends to seek approval to use extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rates with 4-year rates in making AYP determinations after sufficient years of data become available.


Individual Student Enrollment System (ISES). In Wisconsin, Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates will be based on data collected in ISES Year End records. 2009-10 4-Year Rates will use 5 years of ISES data, 2005-06 through 2009-10. 4-Year Rates for each successive school year will use a corresponding set of 5 years of ISES data. Extended year rates require additional years of ISES data.

Key Data Elements. The key ISES data elements used in the calculation of the adjusted cohort graduation rate are: completed term indicator, exit type, grade level placement, high school completion credential, max age year, accountable district, accountable school, expected transfer district/school, and student group. Assignment to a cohort is based on each's student's first high school enrollment record in ISES. Accountable district, accountable school, and student group identification for disaggregated graduation rate reporting purposes will be based on the data in the ISES record containing the highest completion credential earned during the timeframe, or, for noncompleters, the most recent ISES record during the timeframe. For noncompleters, if exit type is ETC in the most recent record during the timeframe, then expected transfer district/school may be the accountable district/school.



Title I Regulations
High School Graduation Rate, Non-Regulatory Guidance

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