Disengaged Students Offered Different Or More Intense Responses

There were two key questions our survey asked students about their experience at school. We asked how satisfied they were with high school and how they rated the new Michigan graduation requirements. In each case the majority of students appear satisfied, but the survey also highlighted groups of students, in some cases fairly large groups of students, who were not happy with aspects of their high school experience.

The first key question asked students "How satisfied are you with the total high school experience so far?"

• A solid majority, 85% of the students, indicated that they were either "Satisfied" or "Extremely Satisfied."
• Only 14% indicated that they were "Dissatisfied" or "Extremely Dissatisfied."

Clearly, school appears to be working for a large portion of the student population, but it isn't working for all students. Sometimes it is hard to hear that voice of dissatisfaction because it is small. Students receiving services for disabilities or for free or reduced lunch are more likely to be dissatisfied with school. In addition, all minority groups registered higher levels of dissatisfaction with their school experience. The highest rates were among African-American and Middle-Eastern. Male students also registered higher levels of dissatisfaction.

The other key question asked on the survey was "How do you rate the graduation requirements for the high school diploma?"

• Even though 85% of students reported being "Satisfied" or "Extremely Satisfied" with school, only 54% felt graduation requirements were "Just Right." 
• Thirty-five percent felt graduation requirements were "Too Demanding," 4% indicated they were "Too Easy" and 6% said they were "Not Familiar With Requirements."

In breaking this answer out by subgroup, we see that Native American students indicate in higher proportions than other ethnic groups that graduation requirements are too difficult, as do students with disabilities. The most significant subgroup appeared when students were grouped by grade level.

• Forty-seven percent of 11th graders indicate that the graduation requirements are too difficult vs. 18% of 12th graders. These 11th grade students are the first cohort who must fulfill the new State of Michigan graduation requirements.