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National graduation-rate tallies irk Allan

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HIGH school graduation rates make Education Minister Nancy Allan cranky -- even though Manitoba's rate has gone up again.

Allan's beef is the way other provinces and territories measure graduation rates, which she said tend to suggest they're doing better than Manitoba.

"We have a huge problem with the way the national cohort is rolled out. It gets me really cranky," she said.

Manitoba had an 84.1 per cent high school graduation rate as of June 2012 compared to 83.5 per cent the year before and 71.1 per cent in June 2002.

Manitoba measures graduation rates by taking the number of Grade 12 graduates in both public and private schools and dividing that number by the total of students enrolled in Grade 9 four years before.

Other provinces use a variety of methods to measure their data, she said.

Some give Grade 9 students more years to graduate and some don't include private schools.

This is the first year for full implementation of provincial legislation requiring people to stay in school until 18 unless they've graduated earlier. "I don't think we'll see the benefit of that until next year," when Manitoba announces its graduation rate as of June 30, 2013, Allan said.

Manitoba had 13,690 high school grads in June 2012, compared to 11,527 a decade earlier.

"The criteria are exactly the same each year," Allan said.

The data take into account that some students take more than one year to finish Grade 12, which is why provincial enrolment reports show more students in Grade 12 than were enrolled in Grade 11 the year before.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 29, 2013 A1

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