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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

There's stats, and then there's stats

This is for Gradebook readers who haven't gotten their FAMU fix today: At the risk of whipsawing you with dueling statistics (but knowing you'd really, really appreciate more information for context) the Gradebook recently asked the Board of Governors for more data regarding the retention rates of National Achievement scholars in Florida. If you recall, interim FAMU President Castell Bryant told a high-profile state task force two weeks ago that while FAMU once recruited them like nobody’s business - and polished its academic profile in the process - it didn't do a good job retaining them.

Well … At first blush (as The Gradebook reported last week) Bryant appears right: FAMU's retention numbers for National Achievement finalists and finalists don't look great. But things get a little fuzzy when you put FAMU's rates next to the University of Florida's and the rest of the state university system.
According to figures kindly rounded up for us by Nate Johnson, the BOG's planning and analysis director: In 1997, 146 National Achievement scholars enrolled in Florida universities; 87 of them went to FAMU, 41 went to UF and 18 went elsewhere.

Four years later, 45 percent of FAMU's scholars had graduated, compared to 68 percent of UF's.
Six years later, the rate was 68 percent at FAMU and 80 percent at UF.

So, do FAMU's rates look better by comparison? Let the debate begin. To see the BOG numbers in more detail (and they include eye-opening retention rates for the rest of the 1997, 1998 and 1999 freshmen classes), click here for FAMU, here for UF and here for the university system as a whole.

- Ron Matus, state education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:17am]


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