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Individual Graduation Committees (IGCs) in Houston ISD:

In the educational landscape, the journey to graduation is often intricate, and for a subset of Houston ISD (HISD) high school students, this path involves Individual Graduation Committees (IGCs). These committees provide an avenue for students who may have encountered obstacles in passing their STAAR End of Course (EOC) exams but are deemed otherwise qualified to graduate. On one hand, IGCs allow districts to recognize the many challenges some of their students face, such as recent immigrants. On the other hand, an overreliance on IGCs could reflect concerns that too many graduates are not academically prepared to be successful in their postsecondary lives. 

Recently, Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles revealed an ongoing investigation into HISD’s potential overreliance on the IGC process. This analysis delves into the data, aiming to shed light on the scope of this matter and to compare HISD’s IGC rates with those of other districts and campuses across Texas.

Key Findings Overview:

     

      • Houston ISD consistently ranks high in the proportion of high school graduates using IGCs, both compared to other Houston-area school districts and other Texas Urban Council (TUC) districts.

      • However, HISD rarely had the highest IGC rate among Houston-area or TUC districts in any year since 2015.

      • In 2022, 13 HISD campuses had over 10% of graduates utilizing IGCs, out of 117 campuses statewide with such rates.

      • HISD campuses with elevated IGC rates typically have higher percentages of Economically Disadvantaged and Emergent Bilingual students compared to other HISD campuses.

      • Excluding IGC graduates would significantly impact the 2021 graduation rate on some campuses, dropping it by 10-30 percentage points.

    HISD vs. Other Texas Districts:

    District Comparison: HISD’s IGC rates consistently had high rates of graduates using IGCs compared to other Houston-area ISDs, but it was rarely the district with the single highest IGC rate.Slide 7

    HISD was among a handful of large urban districts across the state that are making significant use of IGCs. 

    Campus IGC Rates:

    13 campuses within HISD reported 10% or more graduates using IGCs in 2022, necessitating an exploration of contributing factors.

    An examination of specific campus trends, from Sharpstown’s significant increases to Yates’ unexpected shifts.

    Trends Over Time:

    The trajectory of HISD’s IGC rates reached a peak during the pandemic in 2020 and displayed intriguing trends in specific campuses.

    Impact on Graduation Rates:

    Excluding IGC graduates may impact overall graduation rates, raising concerns about readiness for postsecondary education.

    Why It Matters: Understanding the correlation between IGC rates, academic preparedness, and TEA’s A-F Accountability Rating.

    Limitations and Recommendations:

    Acknowledging the limitations of publicly available TEA data and recommending steps for a more comprehensive understanding.

    Future Explorations: Encouraging district and campus leaders to adopt best practices, address challenges, and establish a robust education system.

    It’s a good time to consider the suggestion that high IGC rates signal a need to identify students at risk of not passing EOCs early in high school. This way, interventions are in place to support them. Ultimately, the goal is to find a balance between recognizing the purpose of IGCs and making sure as many graduates as possible are ready for success after graduation.

    This analysis provides a deeper understanding of HISD’s IGC trends. While challenges persist, opportunities for growth emerge. The data underscores the importance for district and campus leaders to navigate complexities and pave a path where every graduate is equipped for success beyond their academy journey. IGCs in HISD serves as an informative piece, guiding stakeholders towards informed decisions and practices for the betterment of the educational landscape.

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