Report reveals uptick in graduation, dropout rates
2010-12-17 / Schools
Study analyzes high school students in California
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell has released the annual report on dropout and graduation rates for the 2008-09 school year.
In 2008-09, 70.1 percent of public school students in California graduated from high school, up from 68.5 percent last year.
The adjusted four-year derived dropout rate for the same school year is 21.7 percent, up from 18.9 percent last year.
The graduation rate among Hispanic students is 59 percent, a 4.9 percentage point increase since last year. Among African American students the graduation rate is 59.6 percent, a 1.4 percentage-point increase.
The estimated dropout rate among Hispanics is at 26.9 percent and among African Americans it is 36.9 percent. The percentages for both subgroups are up by approximately 3 percentage points, mirroring the percentage increase in the statewide results.
Right now the California Department of Education is collecting the student-level exit data for the class of 2010.
All public school students were assigned non-personally identifiable codes called Statewide Student Identifiers by June 2005 that follow the child throughout his or her academic career.
The use of SSIDs increases accountability for districts to find students who stop coming to school.
SSIDs also help districts identify students who were considered a dropout from a school they left but who were actually enrolled in a different district.
The data also allows the department of education to identify students who have been reported by a school district as transferring to another California school district but who cannot be found subsequently enrolled. These students are now properly counted as dropouts rather than transfers.
The dropout rates are calculated for high school students, grades nine through 12. Significant numbers of students dropped out of school during the middle school years.
Although dropouts for middle school grades are counted, middle school dropout rates have never been calculated.
CDE staff is working on developing the rates for middle schools that will be released at a later date.
Traditional high school dropout rates will tend to be lower than the state rate and graduation rates will be higher because many students at risk of dropping out are placed in countyrun dropout recovery or educational option programs. So if students drop out, this would be attributed to the county-run or educational option program, rather than to the traditional high school.
These programs would often have inflated aggregate dropout rates because the aggregate dropout calculation is based on a single day of enrollment. These schools have very high rates of students moving into and out of the system.
Therefore, dropout-rate calculations are not posted for schools that are operated by county offices of education because of constraints in interpreting these calculations with highmobility students.
To view the complete data, go to http://dq.cde.ca.gov/Dataquest.