Dashboard Alternative School Status (DASS) FAQsFrequently Asked Questions and Answers for the DASS Program.
Latest Information on Dashboard Alternative School Status (DASS)
I heard that the modified methods for DASS schools can no longer be used for accountability. Is this true?
Yes. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) raised concerns with California's use of modified methods for DASS schools for federal accountability. In August 2022, the ED declined a waiver request from the State Board of Education (SBE) of the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to allow for continued use of the DASS one-year graduation rate and modified cut scores for the Academic Indicators. As a result, beginning with the 2022 California School Dashboard (Dashboard), DASS schools received:
- The combined four- and five-year graduation rate for the Graduation Rate Indicator and
- Academic Indicators using the same cut scores set for non-DASS schools.
Please note that the waiver denial affects the requirements under federal law (ESSA). State law, as provided by the California Education Code Section 52052(d) continues to permit the use of the DASS program and reporting of data separately for alternative schools. Therefore, the California Department of Education (CDE) will:
- Continue to produce and display the one-year DASS graduation rate for informational purposes only on the 2022 Dashboard and the School Dashboard Additional Reports (available early 2023).
- Continue to seek and recommend opportunities to the SBE to display DASS data in a prominent manner on future Dashboards and in other public reporting of data, such as the CDE's web reporting system, DataQuest. The reporting of these data is critical to local educational agencies who support at-promise students in alternative school settings.
The CDE DASS web page will be updated as new information becomes available.
When can schools apply for DASS Status?
The DASS application opens in February. The application process consists of two parts, each of which has separate due dates:
- Part I is an online survey, which is due in March.
- Part II is the submission of documentation of approval by the local governing board, which is due in June.
To view the eligibility criteria and application process, please visit the California Department of Education (CDE) DASS web page.
I only submitted Part I of the application and never submitted Part II. Can I still submit Part II after the deadline date?
No. Participating in DASS is contingent upon completing both Parts I and II. Submitting only Part I (online survey) will disqualify a school’s DASS application.
I applied for DASS last year and got approved. Do I have to reapply for DASS again this year?
Schools receive DASS status for three school years (e.g., 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21). They must reapply for DASS status in the following spring after the final year of their cycle.
Example: Apple Tree Continuation High applied for DASS status in Spring 2021 and was approved for DASS after submitting Part II of the application in Summer 2021. The school will receive a DASS status for three Dashboard cycles (i.e., 2021, 2022, and 2023 Dashboards). If Apple Tree Continuation High wishes to retain its DASS status after the 2023 Dashboard, it will need to re-apply in Spring 2024.
One of my schools was approved for DASS last year. However, starting next year, the school will be split into five schools. Will all five schools inherit the DASS status of the original school? Or, will I have to apply for DASS for all five schools?
Every school that receives a new seven-digit School Code (i.e., the last seven digits of a County-District-School Code [CDS]) will be considered a new school. Therefore, a DASS application will need to be submitted for each school that receives a new School Code.
However, if one of the schools retained the original School Code, that school will retain its DASS status.
If a DASS school receives a new School Code, will the school have to re-apply for DASS?
Yes. Any school that receives a new seven-digit School Code is considered a new school, and it will not be identified as a DASS school by the California Department of Education (CDE) until the school applies and is approved for DASS. Therefore, we encourage schools that receive a new School Code to apply for DASS as soon as the next available application process opens.
Part I of the application process requires submitting the percent of high-risk students at my school. What data should I use to calculate the percentage?
All of the data needed to calculate the percent of at-promise or high-risk students at your school can be determined from your local student information system:
- The denominator is based on the total number of students currently enrolled at your school at the time of completing Part I. It is not based on the census day enrollment.
- The numerator is based on the number of students who meet the high-risk definition approved by the State Board of Education at the time when they first enrolled at the school. (Therefore, a student’s high-risk status at the time when Part I is completed is not used.)
To determine which of your students are high-risk, take the students in the denominator and review each student’s record when he/she first enrolled at the school. Any of these students who meet the high-risk definition (see high-risk definitions on the California Department of Education (CDE) DASS Eligibility Criteria web page) are included in the numerator.
- Example: When Julio first enrolled at School A, he was NOT a Foster Youth. However, at the time of completing Part I of the DASS application, Julio was designated as Foster Youth. Because Julio was not a Foster Youth when he first enrolled at the school, he cannot be counted as Foster Youth (i.e., not included in the numerator when calculating the school’s high-risk percentage).
DASS One-Year Graduation Rate
I understand that the DASS one-year graduation rate can no longer be used for accountability due to federal requirements. However, will the DASS one-year graduation rate still be reported for schools? Will this rate also be reported for local education agencies (LEAs)?
The DASS one-year graduation rate will be reported for DASS schools both on the Dashboard and on the Graduation Rate Additional Report for informational purposes only. Therefore, DASS schools will receive: (1) a combined four- and five year graduation rate that is used for accountability and (2) a DASS one-year graduation for informational purposes.
The DASS one-year graduation rate will not be produced at the LEA-level.
If the DASS one-year graduation rate is only displayed for informational purposes, will the rules on how the rate is calculated change?
No. To access the latest rules on how the DASS one-year graduation rate is calculated, please access the Dashboard Technical Guide, which is accessible through the Technical Information tab on the Dashboard Resources web page.
The following questions in this section also reviews commonly asked questions on how the rate is calculated.
When one of my students first enrolled at my DASS school, he was a junior. Now, after four months, he has received enough credits to be placed as a senior (grade twelve). Will the student be included in the DASS one-year graduation rate?
All students in grade twelve are included in the calculation of the DASS one-year graduation rate. Because the student’s last enrollment record in California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) shows him in grade twelve, the student will be included in the denominator of the school's DASS one-year graduation rate.
My school uses a student’s age to place him/her in a specific grade level. However, other schools use the number of credits that a student has earned to place him/her in a specific grade level. Which rule should be used?
Placing students in specific grade levels is based on local policy.
A grade twelve student at my DASS school transferred to an adult education program. Will this student be included in my school’s DASS one-year graduation rate?
Yes. Beginning with the 2018 Dashboard, the California Department of Education (CDE) adjusted the 2016–17 and 2017–18 four-year cohort graduation rates to address audit findings from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General. One of the adjustments was to keep students who transfer to an adult education program in the cohort rather than removing them. To align with the federal findings, grade twelve students who transfer from a DASS school to an adult education program will remain in the DASS school’s cohort (i.e., included in the denominator).
A grade twelve student at my DASS school received an adult education diploma. Will this student be included in my school’s DASS one-year graduation rate and be counted as a graduate?
Yes. As long as the student met the enrollment requirement (e.g., enrolled at your school for at least 90 cumulative calendar days or 30 cumulative calendar days), the student will be counted as a graduate in your school’s DASS one-year graduation rate (i.e., included in both the numerator and denominator).
I know that students are counted as graduates in the DASS one-year graduation rate if they earn the standard high school diploma or pass the General Educational Development (GED). But are they counted as graduates if they passed the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE)?
Yes. Students who pass the CHSPE, GED, High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), earn an adult education diploma, or earn a standard diploma, are counted as graduates in the DASS one-year graduation rate. In addition, students with disabilities (SWDs) who earn a Special Education Certificate of Completion are also eligible to be counted as graduates.
Are students with disabilities (SWDs) who participate in a transition program included in the DASS one-year graduation rate?
No. Students who participate in a transition program for SWDs are removed from both the numerator and denominator of the DASS one-year graduation rate. The California Department of Education (CDE) takes transition program participation information from the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) Student Enrollment (SENR) File (Field 1.43 - Adult Age Students with Disabilities in Transition Status).
Are summer graduates included in the DASS one-year graduation rate?
Yes. Students who graduate from July 1 through August 15 are included in the current graduating class as a summer graduate.
- For example, a student who graduated on July 15, 2022, would be included in the graduating class of 2022.
Students who graduate after August 15 are included in the next graduating class:
- For example, a student who graduated on August 16, 2022 would be included in the graduating class of 2023.
Are summer graduates expected to meet enrollment requirements?
No. There are no minimum enrollment requirements for summer graduates.
College/Career Indicator (CCI) for DASS Schools
Which students are included in the CCI for my DASS school? Is the CCI based on the four- and five-year combined graduation rate or the DASS one-year graduation rate?
Because the U.S. Department of Education denied the use of DASS for accountability, the CCI for DASS schools is based on the combined four- and five-year graduation rate.
Are there measures in the CCI that apply to DASS schools?
All measures in the CCI apply to both DASS and non-DASS schools, except for the State or Federal Job Programs measure, which applies only to DASS schools. To access the list of State Board of Education-approved CCI measures, including the placement criteria (Prepared, Approaching Prepared, and Not Prepared), please see the following CCI flyers:
- College/Career Indicator (CCI) Measures of College Readiness(PDF)
- College/Career Indicator (CCI) Measures of Career Readiness(PDF)
In 2020–21, the California Department of Education (CDE) collected data on the following new career measures that could potentially be included in the CCI in future years:
- Student-Led Enterprise
- Simulated Work-Based Learning
- Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT)
The CDE will be working with the CCI Work Group, Alternative Schools Task Force, and other interest groups to propose recommendations on these measures for all schools to the State Board of Education in fall 2023. Updates will be posted on the CDE Work-Based Learning Measures for the CCI web page.
Are DASS schools excluded from the Williams list of schools?
Yes. Under state law, DASS schools are excluded from the Williams list of schools. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education (CDE) Williams Case web page.
Are DASS schools eligible for school support determinations under federal law?
Yes. DASS schools are eligible for school support determinations. For more details, please visit the California Department of Education (CDE) System of Support web page.