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SPSSI Policy News RSS Feed - October 29, 2008

By Christopher Woodside

News Item!/Resource

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings Announces Final Regulation Changes to No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has announced final regulation changes that she believes will strengthen and clarify the purpose of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), focusing prospective improvements on issues of accountability and transparency in the act, uniform and disaggregated graduation rates and improved parental notification for Supplemental Education Services and public school choice.  The Secretary made the announcement while speaking to educators, state and local policymakers and business leaders in Columbia, SC.

In her address, Secretary Spellings made ample mention of the nation’s crippled graduation rate, particularly among minority students.  The final regulation changes establish a uniform graduation rate showing how many incoming freshman in a particular high school graduate within a given four year time period.  Also under the new regulations, all states will use a consistent formula in order to calculate how many students graduate from high school on time and how many drop out.  The legislation’s updated language defines the “four year adjusted cohort graduation rate” as the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who entered high school four years earlier, adjusted for transfers, students who emigrate and deceased students.  Secretary Spellings announced that the data will be made public so that educators and parents can compare how students of every race, background and income level are performing.

Other new functions of the regulations will be to clarify elements of the law requiring school systems to be held accountable for results and transparency in their reporting to parents and the public.  Additionally, in an effort to ensure the inclusion of all sub-groups of students in the reporting, states will now be required to explain how minimum group size, or “N-size” and other components of their particular Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) definition, interact to provide statistically reliable information as well as to ensure the maximum inclusion of all students and subgroups.

For more information about the final regulations and to view the Secretary’s full remarks, fact sheets and a webcast of the announcement, please visit: <>.

On Thursday, October 30, the U.S. Department of Education will host a live webcast on newly released Title I Regulations from 1 – 2pm ET.  The webcast will be interactive, and the Department is encouraging viewers to ask questions via e-mail both prior to and during the live event.  SPSSI members with experience in the researching of graduation/drop out rates, and other areas of education equity may be interested in submitting questions during the webcast.  Please feel free to do so by e-mailing:

For more information on the webcast, please visit U.S. Department of Education officials participating in the webcast include:  Kerri Briggs, Assistant Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education; Amanda Farris, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education; and Meredith Farace, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Deputy Secretary.  To join the live webcast, please go to:


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