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CALPADS Update Flash #202

Topics include: Guidance on Retroactive Granting of High School Diplomas Authorized by Assembly Bill 1350; Assembly Bill 1350 and Impact of Graduation Rate.

To:           Local Educational Agency (LEA) Representatives

From:      California Department of Education (CDE) –
                California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) Team

Date:       February 24, 2021

SubjectCALPADS Update FLASH #202


Guidance on Retroactive Granting of High School Diplomas Authorized by Assembly Bill 1350

Background                

Local educational agencies (LEAs) submitted student exits and school completion statuses as part of the 2019-20 End of Year (EOY) 3 submission. These certified data, as well as data from the CALPADS Operational Data Store, were pulled from CALPADS on August 28, 2020 and used for one-year graduate counts and to calculate the four-year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR). Any students in their senior year of high school, who failed to complete the statewide graduation requirements, should have been exited with Student Exit Category E230 – CompleterExit, and School Completion Status 360 – Completed grade 12 without completing graduation requirements, not grad. For federal reporting purposes, these students will be counted as completing grade 12, but will not be counted as high school graduates because they did not meet the federal definition of a high school graduate. These students will also not be included in the 4-year Adjusted Cohort Graduate Rate (ACGR) or in the subsequent 5-year graduation rate.

Assembly Bill 1350 and Impact of Graduation Rate

Subsequently, Assembly Bill (AB) 1350 (Chapter 66, Statutes of 2020), was chaptered into law on September 11, 2020, and went into effect on January 1, 2021. This legislation authorizes a high school district, unified school district, county office of education, or the governing body of a charter school to retroactively grant a high school diploma to students who:

  • Were in their senior year of high school during the 2019−20 school year,
  • As of March 1, 2020, were in good academic standing and on track to graduate at the end of 2019−20, and
  • Were unable to complete the statewide graduation requirements as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

Therefore, beginning January 1, 2021, LEAs are now able to retroactively award high school diplomas to students who meet these criteria; however, these students should not be reported to CALPADS as regular high school graduates because they do not meet the federal definition of a regular high school graduate and they do not meet the criteria specified in CALPADS completion status 100 (Graduated, standard high school diploma), which states:

The student withdrew from/left school after meeting all state and local high school graduation requirements and the district/school has acceptable documentation that the student received a "regular high school diploma" equivalent to the standard high school diploma awarded to the preponderance of students in the State that is fully aligned with the State's standards and does not include a general equivalency diploma, certificate of completion, certificate of attendance, or any other similar or lesser credential, such as a diploma based on meeting Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals, OR as specified in California Education Code (EC) section 51225.1, a student in foster care, a student how is homeless, or a former juvenile court school student who transfers between schools any time after the completion of the pupil's second year of high school, completes all requirements specified in EC Section 51225.3. The exit date must align with the date the student completed the graduation requirements and was awarded a "regular high school diploma.

Instead, as previously stated, students who meet the criteria in AB 1350 should be reported in CALPADS with Student Exit Category E230 – CompleterExit, and School Completion Status 360 – Completed grade 12 without completing graduation requirements, not grad. As a reminder, for audit purposes, LEAs are required to maintain acceptable documentation for all students reported to CALPADS as a high school graduate demonstrating that the student has met the CALPADS definition above.

Prior year graduate counts and the ACGR will not be recalculated because AB 1350 only authorizes LEAs to retroactively award a high school diploma to the applicable students; it does not alter the CALPADS definition of a high school graduate or any associated data reporting and documentation requirements. Additionally, students who meet the criteria of AB 1350 are not eligible to be reported in CALPADS as high school graduates for purposes of the 5-year graduation rate.

Questions:   CALPADS/CBEDS/CDS Operations Office | calpads@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-6738
Service and Support: CALPADS-CSIS Service Desk | calpads-support@cde.ca.gov | 916-325-9210
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, February 24, 2021
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