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About the Data - Postgraduation Plans

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Overview

Postgraduation plans of high school graduates are available on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Website. These plans provides clues about student interests and/or preceived college and career readiness just prior to high school graduation.

Where to Find Data about Postgraduation Plans
School Years  WISEdash   School District 
 Performance Report 
 WINSS Historical 
 Data Files 
Beginning with 2007-08 -- X --
1996-07 through 2006-07 -- -- X

WINSS Data Analysis was DPI's primary public data portal for postgraduation plans until fall 2014 when more recent years of WINSS postgraduation plans by student group were migrated to the School District Performance Report (SDPR).

Postgraduation plans are reported annually for all graduates of public schools and districts statewide as part of the SDPR. Below you will find detailed background information, definitions, and related links to facilitate use and appropriate interpretation of these data on the DPI Website.


Cautions

  1. Postgraduation plans reported as a percent of graduates must be interpreted as estimates. Counts of plans and counts of graduates are used together in calculating percents for this topic, but, beginning with 2003-04, these counts come from different collections. Postgraduation plans are part of the School Performance Report (SPR) aggregate collection. Graduates are collected in the Individual Student Enrollment System (ISES). For some schools or student groups, the number of plans submitted for students scheduled to graduate is not equal to the number of students who graduate. See Calculating Percents below for details on how these situations are addresssed.
  2. Due to the large number of postgraduation plan options collected, certain plans are combined into a "miscellaneous" category to facilitate on-screen display. If a student checked the "seeking employment," "other," or "undecided" option or did not return/complete the postgraduation survey ("no response"), then the student is counted in the "miscellaneous" category. Data for all options are provided in download files.

Definitions of Key Terms

For definitions, see the WISEdash Glossary (includes terms used in SDPR and in WINSS historical files).


Counting Students and Calculating Percents

WI School Performance Report (SPR) law requires the reporting of the percentage of graduates enrolling in postsecondary educational programs and percentage of graduates entering the workforce. In other to meet this requirements, students scheduled to graduate are asked to indicate their plans beyond high school.

Counting Graduates

All students who earned a regular high school diploma in the selected school year are counted as graduates in that year.

Counting Plans

Each school year, students scheduled to graduate that year complete an SPR survey form indicating their plans beyond high school. The survey form, provided as part of the SPR data collection (click on "Data Definitions and Directions"), asks students to select one of the following eight options:

  • Four-Year College or University. Student intends to enroll in a college or university to earn a baccalaureate degree. This includes students intending to enroll at the two-year Univeristy of Wisconsin Colleges.
  • Vocational or Technical College. Student intends to enroll in a vocational or technical college that offers education in a semi-skilled, skilled, or technical occupation and results in an associate degree. Studies prepare the student to enter the job market and be productive with a minimum of additional training on the job. For purposes of the School Performance Report, junior colleges and community colleges should be included in this category. Programs can be six months or less, one year, or two years in duration.
  • Employment. Student has already secured employment after high school graduation. Employment is career-oriented and does not include a summer job prior to enrolling in a technical college, junior or community college, or college/university.
  • Enlist in the Military. Student intends to enlist in some branch of military service after graduation from high school (i.e., U.S. Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines).
  • Job Training Program. Student intends to complete a job training program begun while in high school that prepares the student for a variety of job opportunities in a specialized field. Programs include completion of a youth apprenticeship, registered apprenticeship, Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), etc.
  • Seeking Employment. Student intends to seek career-oriented employment following graduation from high school. This does not include summer employment prior to enrolling in a technical college, junior or community college, or college/university.
  • Other. Student has any plan not defined above.
  • Undecided. Student has not decided, as of the time of the survey, what to do following graduation.

Districts use SPR survey responses to provide counts of students by plan and by student group as part of the SPR collection.

Counts are provided for two other plan categories:

  • No Response. If a graduating student did not return or complete the survey as expected, then the district counts the student in the "no response" category. If the counts of graduates submitted by districts exceed the counts of plans, then, for public reporting purposes, counts in the "no response" category are increased by the difference between the count of graduates and the count of plans.
  • Miscellaneous. If a student is counted in the "seeking employment," "other," "undecided," or "no response" category, then the student is counted in the "miscellaneous" category.

Calculating Percents

Prior to 2003-04, for any selected school year, the numerator for percents was the count of plans in the specific category of interest (e.g. Four-Year College or University, Employment, etc) and the denominator was the count of graduates.

Beginning with 2003-04, postgraduation plans and graduates have been included in separate data collections, the SPR aggregate collection and ISES respectively. As a result, for some schools or student groups, the number of plans is not equal to the number of graduates. Consequently, beginning with 2003-04, the denominators and numerators used in calculating percents have been determined as follows:

  • If the number of graduates submitted in ISES is equal to the number of students with postgraduation plans submitted in SPR, then the denominator is the number of graduates (or number of plans since they are equal). The numerator is the number of students submitted in SPR as selecting the specified postgraduation option.
  • If the number of graduates submitted in ISES is greater than the number of students with postgraduation plans submitted in SPR, then the denominator is the number of graduates. The numerator is the number of students submitted in SPR as selecting the specified postgraduation option with one exception, the "no response" option. The count of students with "no response" would be increased by the difference between the number of graduates and the number of postgraduation plans. Because "no response" is one of the options included in the "miscellaneous" category, this difference is also added to the postgraduation option "miscellaneous."
  • If the number of graduates submitted in ISES is 0, then the denominator is 0. The numerator is the number of students submitted in SPR as selecting the specified postgraduation option. In this case, because the denominator is 0, no percents are reported.
  • If the number of graduates submitted in ISES is greater than 0 and less than the number of students with postgraduation plans submitted in SPR, then the denominator is the number of students with postgraduation plans submitted in SPR. The numerator is the number of students submitted in SPR as selecting the specified postgraduation option. Graduates is not used in calculating percents in this case because it is unknown which students reporting plans were not graduates.

Data Changes Over Time

The source of data about graduates changed in 2003-04. For details, see Data Sources below.


Data Sources

Counts of students by postgraduation plan category by school and by student group come from the School Performance Report (SPR) Collection. An exception exists for the "no response" category. If the number of graduates for a school or student group as submitted in ISES Year End records exceeds the number of plans for that school or student group submitted in the SPR collection, then the count of students in the "no response" category is increased using data from ISES Year End records.

Counts of graduates by school, by student group come from the following sources:

  • Beginning with 2003-04, counts of graduates come from ISES Year End records. Accountable district/school is used.
  • Prior to 2003-04, counts of graduates came from the SPR Collection.

Frequently Asked Questions about Postgraduation Plans

  1. Why might counts of plans to attend postsecondary institutions as reported in SDPR be significantly different from postsecondary enrollment counts as reported in WISEdash?

    Several primary reasons exist. Counts of plans and/or postsecondary enrollments may be incomplete, plans may change after graduation, and postsecondary enrollment may be delayed. For information about postsecondary enrollment reports in WISEdash, see About the Data - Postsecondary Enrollment.


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