Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo
California Department of Education News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #15-34
April 28, 2015
Contact: Tina Jung
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Reports Record High Graduation Rate

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today reported California's cohort graduation rate climbed for the fifth year in a row in 2014 to a record high, with the biggest jump taking place among English learners.

Among students who started high school in 2010-11, 80.8 percent graduated with their class in 2014, up 0.4 of a percentage point from the year before (Table 1). The California graduation rate has increased substantially since the class of 2010 posted a 74.7 percent rate.   

The graduation rates of most student groups also rose in 2014. The graduation rate among English learners increased 2.2 percentage points from the year before and is now at 65.3 percent. For Hispanic or Latino students, the rate is 76.4 percent, up 0.7 of a percentage point from the year before. However, for African American students, the rate is 68.1 percent, unchanged from the year before (Table 2).

"Our record high graduation rate is great news, especially since it is occurring at the same time we are raising academic standards," said Torlakson. "This is more evidence that the dramatic changes taking place in our schools are gradually helping to improve teaching and learning in every classroom. We have raised academic standards, started online testing, given local districts more flexibility in spending, and provided more resources to students who need it most."

Torlakson said he believes the extra resources flowing into our schools have helped schools add staff and reinvigorate many programs intended to help students graduate. In addition, he said, the collection of more precise data has put a spotlight on graduation rates, helping teachers and administrators adjust instruction for all students, but particularly for those most in danger of failing or dropping out.

Despite the record graduation rates, Torlakson said there is still much work to be done. "I challenge educators, parents, students, and community leaders to continue the hard work needed to help every student graduate," he said, "and to make a special effort to raise graduation rates for English learners and Latino and African American students."

The cohort data track graduation rates, dropout rates, and students in a third category: those still working toward graduation who have not graduated or dropped out. Along with the rise in the graduation rate, the state's dropout rate also rose slightly to 11.6 percent in 2014, up 0.2 of a percentage point. By comparison, the percentage of students still in school but who have not graduated declined 0.5 of a percentage point from the year before and stands at 6.9 percent.  

The new graduation rate results come one day after the announcement that California finished sixth in the nation in the percentage of high school graduates from the class of 2014 who passed an Advanced Placement exam with a score of three or better.

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). Cohort means the same groups of students were followed for four years in this data collection. This is the fifth time this cohort information was calculated, meaning data may only be compared accurately over the five-year period from 2009-10 to 2013-14. Prior to 2009-10, graduation and dropout rates used different calculation systems. Cohort graduation rates are used to determine whether schools met their targets for increasing the graduation rate for Adequate Yearly Progress reporting under the federal accountability system.

To view and download state, county, district, and school graduation and dropout rates, visit the California Department of Education's DataQuest. Downloadable data sheets are available on the Cohort Outcome Data Web page. Caution is urged when comparing graduation or dropout 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.

# # # #

Attachments

Table 1: Difference Between Class of 2013 and Class of 2014 Cohort Graduation and Dropout Rates

Year

Cohort Students

Cohort Graduates

Cohort Graduation Rate

Cohort Dropouts

Cohort Dropouts Rate

Cohort Special Ed Completers

Cohort Special Ed Completers Rate

Cohort Still Enrolled

Cohort Still Enrolled Rate

2012-13

495,316

398,442

80.4

56,711

11.4

2,661

0.5

36,470

7.4

2013-14

493,701

398,833

80.8

57,093

11.6

2,962

0.6

34,050

6.9

Difference

-1,615

391

0.4

382

0.2

301

0.1

-2,420

-0.5

Table 2: Cohort Increase or Decrease from the Class of 2013 to Class of 2014 by Subgroup and Program

Ethnic/Racial Designation or Program

Cohort Graduation Rate 2013-14

Cohort Graduation Rate 2012-13

Graduation Rate Difference

Cohort Dropout Rate 2013-14

Cohort Dropout Rate 2012-13

Dropout Rate Difference

Hispanic or Latino of Any Race

76.4

75.7

0.7

14

13.9

0.1

American Indian or Alaska Native, Not Hispanic

70.1

72.8

-2.7

18.9

17.4

1.5

Asian

92.3

91.6

0.7

4.7

4.6

0.1

Pacific Islander, Not Hispanic

79.9

78.4

1.5

12.4

14.2

-1.8

Filipino, Not Hispanic

92.1

91.6

0.5

4.5

4.7

-0.2

African American, Not Hispanic

68.1

68.1

0

20.3

19.7

0.6

White, Not Hispanic

87.4

87.7

-0.3

7.6

7.4

0.2

Two or More Races, Not Hispanic

85.4

84.5

0.9

8.4

9.7

-1.3

Not Reported

61.6

46.4

15.2

32

33.7

-1.7

English Learners

65.3

63.1

2.2

20.9

21.6

-0.7

Migrant Education

75.8

76.4

-0.6

16.2

14.7

1.5

Special Education

62.2

61.9

0.3

16

15.5

0.5

Socioeconomically Disadvantaged

75.4

74.8

0.6

14.5

14.5

0

All Students

80.8

80.4

0.4

11.6

11.4

0.2

# # # #

Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Thursday, May 12, 2016

Recently Posted in News Releases

  • Pre-Apprenticeship Diplomas (added 26-May-2016)
    State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Announces First High School Graduates with "Pre-Apprenticeship" Diplomas.
  • Graduation Rates (added 17-May-2016)
    State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Reports New Record High School Graduation Rate and Sixth Consecutive Year of an Increase.
  • Accountability and Continuous Improvement Report (added 11-May-2016)
    Superintendent Torlakson Releases Report by the Accountability and Continuous Improvement Task Force.
  • Students Have Begun CAASPP Testing (added 10-May-2016)
    State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Reports More Than Two-Thirds of California's Eligible Students Have Begun CAASPP Testing
  • After School Funding Legislation (added 02-May-2016)
    State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Visits John F. Kennedy High School to Promote After School Funding Legislation.