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School Officials Say New Brunswick Graduation Rates Were Misrepresented

District officials said Tuesday that a 58.8 percent graduation rate reported by the state is erroneous.

District officials from New Brunswick Schools said Tuesday night that a report from the state misrepresented the district's actual graduation rate.

Last week, the state released data about graduation rates in light of

The would ultimately raise the requirements for obtaining a diploma, and would replace the 11th grade assessment called HSPA that 11th graders currently have to pass to graduate.

According to the state, the New Brunswick's graduation rate was reported to be 58.8 percent, but district officials said Tuesday that the actual rate, calculated through a previously used formula, is more than 70 percent.

District superintendent Richard Kaplan said the state now uses a program called NJ SMART that tracks students as they move through their district and the state.

Kaplan said that discrepancies are present in the system, as it does not account for students who leave the state, nor does it account for students who do not graduate on time, but are still in the district. Those students are left out of the equation, skewering the numbers, he said.

50 students who are behind schedule on graduating are currently on track to graduate in June, Kaplan said.

According to a previously used formula that calculates district graduation rates, in 2010, the graduation rate was 68.8 percent, according to Barbi Siegel, director of guidance at the high school.

Kaplain said that the numbers reflected are the graduation rate, not the dropout rate, for the district.

Between 2007 and 2010, a total of 45 students dropped out of the district, he said.

A number of questions were posed by the public at the meeting, including a statement that despite the district's explanation that the graduation rate is higher than the state originally reported, 70 percent is still low.

Kaplan said the district has credit recovery programs in place for students to make up credits at both the middle and high school levels, through computer-based instruction and classroom instruction.

Kaplan said materials presented at the Tuesday board of education meeting about the graduation rates will be posted on the district website.

The district's past graduation rates can be viewed on the state Department of Education website.

The Board of Education will hold its reorganization meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at the High School, 1000 Somerset St.

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