12 thoughts on “CHS’ Spike in Advanced Diplomas”

  1. That article is confusing, since it does not discriminate between the meanings of “Advanced” and “Advanced Placement.” At CHS, there are three levels of study: Honors, Advanced, and General. Advanced Placement (AP) classes are classes which can earn students college credit. Are they saying that 147% more black students are taking AP classes, or that 147% more are graduating with an “advanced” diploma rather than one from the “general” level.

  2. The article is also misleading – though not necessarily intentionally. a 147% improvement over what? They provided no actual numbers – how many students are receiving advanced diplomas? 1 to 3 is a 200% improvement, but not very newsworthy. I can’t imagine a seasoned reporter would miss that, or that a good news director would let it out, but we’re talking about NBC29 here, folks.

  3. There is no such thing as an “Advanced Placement” diploma, there are only AP courses. The advanced diploma requires more than a standard diploma (more verified credits, more foreign language, etc.) but does not require that a student take AP classes. The data (147%) is related to advanced diplomas versus standard diplomas, and has no meaning with regard to AP course enrollment.

    Also, CHS has four/five levels of instruction, depending on the grade and subject area: applied, general, advanced, honors, and AP. Of course they are not ALL offered at every grade for every class. Additionally, CHS offers Dual Enrollment classes (not sure what subject areas)that are sort of between the Advanced and AP levels.

    Hope this clarifies a couple of things. I do not know the actual numbers of students graduating with different diplomas, and I don’t know the actual number of kids enrolled in AP classes. The different kinds of diplomas and credits required for those diplomas are listed in the student handbook, and online at http://www.ccs.k12.va.us/schools/chs/counseling/grad-requirements.html

  4. I understand that there’s no such thing as an Advanced Placement diploma, but NBC 29 doesn’t seem to understand the difference between AP and Advanced as evidenced in the following two paragraphs in the article:

    [quote]At Charlottesville High School, the numbers were flat for black students from 2004 through 2006. But this year, there was a 147 percent jump in the number of black students getting a diploma after having advanced courses.

    Bekinwari Idoniboye is a CHS student who’s taking six advanced placement classes this year. She’s the only African American with that course load, but she’s noticed a change in the faces that make up those classes. [/quote]

    Or maybe they do, but if the focus is on students getting advanced diplomas, adding a statement about black students in AP classes just confuses the issue. Those are two entirely separate issues.

    My problem is with the poor journalism, not with CHS or its levels of instruction/types of diplomas.

  5. I agree – It’s interesting that the actual numbers weren’t included in the article, although any increase in the numbers is welcome news.

  6. I wonder if this was an attempt by NBC29 to cover a report given at a recent school board meeting. I’m glad I’m not the only one confused.

  7. It’s a pet peeve of mine when reporters fail to contextualize data. Sometimes it’s done like this (“a 200% increase in X”), and sometimes in raw numbers (“X has increased by one hundred”). Neither figure is useful without providing a sense of scale.

  8. The numbers used by Henry Graff in his report can be found on a chart on p. 9 (pg. 3 of the report)) of a recent school report .pdf. Link is at:

    http://www.ccs.k12.va.us/uploads/Work Session December 6 2007.pdf

    Graff’s piece puts the best possible spin on the graduation story: in 05-06 17 African-Americans received Advanced diplomas; in 06-07 the number was 42–that is a 147% jump. (Good news still.) It should be noted that the prior three years weren’t exactly “flat” as Graff reported: in 04-05, 28 A-A students received advanced diplomas. So there was a drop of 40% the year before the gain of 147%….

    Also note that these comparisons are of different cohorts of students.

    The more important trends are in the graduation rates (which deduct students in each cohort’s 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade classes who have dropped out or failed to earn a standard or advanced diploma in 4 years):

    Here are those numbers:

    Year All Students African-American Caucasian*
    03-04 82% 68% 91%
    04-05 76% 65% 82%
    05-06 77% 63% 87%
    06-07 74% 67% 81%

    *I presume this refers to student to classify themselves as white, not as having ancestors from the Caucasus region between the Black & Caspian Seas…

  9. “The more important trends are in the graduation rates (which deduct students in each cohort’s 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade classes who have dropped out or failed to earn a standard or advanced diploma in 4 years).” Unfortunately these statistics combine two different apples, those who stop attending a State recognized “school” and those who do not have enough credits to graduate in four years (including summer school). Those who fail to graduate in four years may graduate in five but are still counted. Those who get GEDs at some time in the future are also counted. The school system must generate the figures that it does in order to conform to State reporting guidelines. In order to improve student performance, the local must separate these populations in order to determine the road blocks. Just saying its because of vague socio-economic reasons is passing the buck. These students’ cousins in the surrounding counties are performing at a much higher level, so the difference must be in crossing the city lines.

  10. I’m not sure I get your point, CE. Sure, these graduation rates will nudge upward a bit as students get a diploma in 5 years or earn a GED. Still is good to know how many receive that diplomas in 4. The point here is that NBC29 reported the good news story. (I have to wonder if this came off a press release.) The real news is a bit more depressing.

  11. I don’t give a rat’s behind about NBC29. They’re children repeating that information that they were given. I do know that if 30% of the kids in CCS were dropping out, State funds would be discontinued. This is covered in the Standards of Quality. The State tolerates 8% before becoming alarmed. That other 24% percent is quite substantial when considering its ratio to the actual dropouts. Statistics are to be used for clarification. In this case, they are not. They are different issues requiring different solutions, just as people peel apples differently from oranges. Many of the students do not graduate on time because they fail to get full credits during the freshman and sophomore years, but do receive enough to be promoted, even if it means going to summer school. This may or may not lead to their dropping out. It usually means that they will not graduate on time. Good problems solvers know to separate the apples from the oranges unless they are talking about fruit in general.

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