New Methods and Sources of Estimating and Analyzing Student Attainment
Sherman Dorn, University of South Florida
Current methods of estimating key indicators of secondary educational attainment from administrative sources, including graduation and dropping out, generally depend on assumptions about migration and grade-level promotions or rely on large-area data on migration. This paper tests alternative methods from the work of Coale and Schmertmann using age-specific data from contemporary sources (individual-level data, Florida, 1999-2001) and historical records (age-grade tables and graduation counts from school districts of Georgia, U.S., late 1930s-late 1950s). The use of contemporary sources enables a check against individual-level data, and the historical records tests the method with low-attainment populations. The work also traces changes in secondary attainment in Georgia, including increases in attainment among African-Americans in the mid-20th century, for which the causes are a source of some dispute among historians of education.