Las Vegas Sun

November 29, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Graduation rates are the wrong tool

Dan Klaich and the university system regents want to do to our colleges what the Eastern establishment has done to public schools. They want to fund colleges based on graduation rates. When high schools in some districts were commanded to increase graduation rates, they responded by tossing merit out the window and pushing students through the system based on “social promotions.”

Graduation rate is the wrong metric, especially for community and urban colleges. At these sorts of institutions, students migrate in and out over the course of years. Students attend classes when their work schedule and finances permit. In many cases, work or family situations arise and students withdraw from class or just quit attending.

Other citizens will take a few classes to hone existing skills or update their familiarity with new technology, or take a class or two for personal enrichment. Does anyone think the aforementioned students, who were never seeking a degree in the first place, should be counted against their college as failures?

I hope our legislators will see the fallacy of using graduation rates as a measure of success and send the Nevada System of Higher Education back to the drawing board.

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