New England states collaborate on education data

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Five New England states are working together to improve the accuracy of public education data and make it easier to share across state lines.

Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont are part of the New England Secondary School Consortium. Since 2009, they have been collecting and reporting high school graduation rates, dropout rates and other data using a set of procedures developed by a regional team of specialists.

New Hampshire Education Commissioner Virginia Barry says having comparable data from five states will provide greater insight into the conditions that exist in each state.

Data released this week shows all five states have seen an increase in their on-time graduation rates, which refers to the percentage of students who earn a standard diploma within four years. Vermont had the highest rate from 2009 through 2012, while New Hampshire posted the highest rate — 87.9 percent — in 2013. Vermont came in second last year, followed by Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Data on overall graduation rates — which includes students who took five or six years — covered students who entered high school in the fall of 2007. Vermont's rate of 91 percent was the highest, followed by New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine and Rhode Island.

"These reports signify a huge step forward in regional collaboration," said Beth Miller, director of research and evaluation for the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. "The data in these reports have been critical to the foundation as we measure college readiness in the region, and I'm sure many other organizations and individuals will find the reports equally significant."

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