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EUHS, LHS raise graduation rates, drop in dropouts

EUHS, LHS raise graduation rates, drop in dropouts

Graduation rates among California’s public school students are climbing and dropout rates are falling, with the biggest gains being made among African-American and Hispanic students, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced last week.

Locally, Exeter and Lindsay made gains in their graduation rates. Exeter was among the top in the County with a graduation rate of 97.5% and Lindsay saw a huge jump in its rate of 6.1% up to 79.2%. While most other local schools saw a dip in graduation rates Farmersville and Woodlake still topped the state average at 89.5 and 86.6, respectively. The only foothills high school to not have a higher graduation rate than the state average was in Strathmore, where graduation rates dropped 12.8% from the Class of 2011 to the Class of 2012.

Overall, nearly eight out of 10 California students, or 78.5%, who started high school in 2008-09 graduated with their class in 2012. That is up 1.4 percentage points from the year before (Table 1). Among African-American students, 65.7% graduated with their class in 2012, up 2.9 percentage points from the year before. Among Hispanic students, 73.2% graduated with their class, up 1.8 percentage points from the year before. Locally Hispanic students are doing better than the state average. In Strathmore, 74.1% of Hispnic students graduated. Lindsay and Woodlake topped 80% of Hispanic students Farmersville topped 90% and in Exeter 97.5% of Hispanic students graduated with their class.

“There are great things happening in California’s schools every day, and the upward climb of our graduation rate bears that out,” Torlakson said. “While I am glad to announce that we are moving in the right direction, the fact remains that we must keep moving to ensure that every California student graduates ready to succeed in the world they will find outside our classrooms.”

Along with the rise in the graduation rate, there is a dip in the dropout rate. Of the five local high schools, only Lindsay outpaced the state. Lindsay saw the biggest decrease of 4.5%, Exeter and Farmersville dropped by less than a percent and Woodlake matched the County average improvement with a decrease of 1.4%. The only local high school to see its dropout rate rise was Strathmore, where the rate jumped by 11.3% to 25.5%.

Of California students who started high school in 2008-09, 13.2% dropped out. That’s down 1.5 percentage points from the 2011 dropout rate. Among African-American students, 22.2% dropped out, down 3.1 percentage points from the year before. Among Hispanic students, 16.2% dropped out, down 2.1 percentage points from the year before.

Another 8.3% of students in this cohort are neither graduates nor dropouts. That’s down 0.1 of a percentage point from 2011. A cohort refers to a particular group of students tracked over a given time period. These students either are non-diploma special education students (0.6 percent), are other students who elected to take and then passed the General Educational Development (GED) exam (0.2 percent), or are still enrolled in school (7.5 percent).

Graduation and dropout rates for counties, districts, and schools across California were calculated based on four-year cohort information using the state’s California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). This is the third time this four-year cohort information was calculated, meaning data may only be compared accurately over the three-year period from 2009-10 to 2011-12. Prior year graduation and dropout rates used different calculation systems and cannot be compared to the cohort rates.

Cohort graduation rates are used to determine whether schools met their targets for increasing the graduation rate for the Adequate Yearly Progress reporting under the federal school accountability system. The cohort dropout rate is calculated for high school students grades nine through twelve, although some students drop out as early as middle school.

To view and download state, county, district, and school graduation and dropout rates, please visit the California Department of Education’s DataQuest at http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/. Interested parties are encouraged to give careful consideration to comparing education rates across individual schools and districts. For example, some county office schools, alternative schools, or dropout recovery high schools serve only those students who are already at the greatest risk of dropping out, compared with the broader population at traditional high schools and therefore cannot be directly compared.

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