Question for Discussion::100% Graduation Rate

I am back in the classroom, and an interesting question I want to lob and then hear your comments below because I don’t know and want to learn from the people smarter than me: If everyone in your class or program graduates does that lessen the potency of your diploma?

Is this sorta the academic version of everyone getting a trophy?

Shouldn’t attrition be a part of the academy and be celebrated because it reveals some students are learning, being reshaped and refocused by leaving?

For those in institutions of learning, is there pressure to increase graduation rated because on the recruiting side (enrollment) it looks more attractive but on the back end does it diminish the purpose of the academy?

8 thoughts on “Question for Discussion::100% Graduation Rate

  1. By Robert: It may make a difference what level of schooling you are describing. For a D.Min., I think the going drop-out rate is approx. 50%… I’ve never had anyone ask how many graduated out of my starting cohort; I have had plenty as how long and/or challenging the program was and where I got the degree.

  2. By Wes: Prof told us we were first to add students into cohort is what got this thinking (not that I want folks to go if you are in my cohort).

    What level of academia would you shoot for 100?
    High school?
    Middle school?

  3. By Robert: Hmm. 100% graduation as a public high school GOAL would measure one set of priorities (to multiple tracks of students including special needs); at the private high school I went to, it probably was just an indicator of the socio-economic advantages of the families at the school. At the college level, I think a lower graduation rate might signal a tougher program, though there are probably differences between public/private colleges and universities as well. At a medical school, I’d hope they’d weed out the slackers and not have 100% graduation. 🙂

    All that to say I think there are lots of different contexts to consider.

  4. By Wes: Agree. When I met students who were upset they failed out of med school I told them I was glad they found out then rather then when I was on the operating table.

  5. It depends. KIPP schools teach and reteach until the content is mastered……good approach for those hailing from low SES backgrounds. If there are standards for completion, then an “all graduate” approach means students will be allowed as many years as it takes to fulfill requirements. Seems permissive but it might suit some populations. Schools that are highly selective are not willing to be so permissive.

  6. I totally agree that the context determines the answer to this question. I would hope that most educational institutions hold as a goal graduating all who start a program if they complete the work. I believe if all students do the same work and master the material, then all should graduate, not have some arbitrary curve that “weeds out” the lowest percentage. Some may need more help than others to master material, but I also know of situations in which students who needed a great deal of help, graduated at the top of their class! What a beautiful success story when a struggling student is able to conquer fear and doubt to triumph in a class or program by applying sustained effort and work!

    1. That is a great mentality, and affirming.

      I may need to adopt that, and think it really hinges on the objective of the institution–if the institution is committed and determined to support that much effort rather than cutting the line on struggling students.

      Interesting, so maybe schools with higher grad rates show a higher level of commitment to their students?

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