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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #20-101
December 11, 2020
Contact: Communications
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

California Department of Education Releases 2019-20 High School Graduation and Dropout Rates

SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Education (CDE) today released high school graduation data that showed rates remained largely steady overall in 2019–20—and some of the state’s highest-need students saw increases—during a school year in which the majority of California’s schools abruptly shifted to distance learning midway through their spring semesters due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

“The COVID-19 crisis upended the senior years of hundreds of thousands of high school students throughout California, and I am proud of the resilience of these young adults and of the educators who went above and beyond to help keep them on track to graduate,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

Among all students statewide who started high school in 2016, 84.3 percent graduated with their peers, compared to the 84.5 percent from the year before. Rates for many student groups remained level year-to-year, though some experienced decreases (Asian, Filipino, White) while others, including some of the state’s highest-need students, saw increases (American Indian or Alaska Native, English Learners, Foster Youth, Students with Disabilities). (See Table 1).

Overall, statewide dropout rates for 2019–20 also remained largely stable at 8.9 percent, compared to 9 percent the previous year. The largest increases in the dropout rates were experienced among Asian, Filipino and White students, while the largest decreases were seen among students who are African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, English Learners, Foster Youth, or Students with Disabilities. (See Table 2).

Additionally, the five-year cohort graduation rate—the rate for students who began high school in 2015 and earned their diploma in 2020—was reported at 87 percent.

To view state, county, district, and school graduation and dropout rates, visit the California Department of Education's DataQuest.

Downloadable data files for graduation rates are available on the CDE Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate and Outcome Data web page and on the Five-Year Cohort Graduation Rate and Outcome Data web page.

Table 1: Graduation Counts and Rates by Student Group

Ethnic/Racial Designation or Program

2020 Graduate Count

2019 Graduate Count

2020 Graduation Rate

2019 Graduation Rate

African American

21,431

22,312

76.9%

76.8%

American Indian or Alaska Native

2,043

2,123

75.8%

74.8%

Asian

41,931

42,631

92.6%

94.0%

Filipino

13,119

13,750

92.4%

94.1%

Hispanic or Latino

218,460

216,451

82.2%

82.1%

Pacific Islander

2,035

2,048

84.4%

84.6%

White

99,722

103,110

87.9%

88.4%

Two or More Races

13,133

12,284

85.5%

85.5%

Not Reported

2,319

2,787

53.9%

53.0%

English Learners

48,613

50,108

69.1%

68.7%

Foster Youth

4,706

4,279

58.2%

56.0%

Homeless Youth

24,297

24,122

69.7%

70.0%

Migrant Education

4,489

4,586

81.5%

81.6%

Students with Disabilities

40,918

39,352

68.4%

67.7%

Socioeconomically Disadvantaged

276,348

276,339

81.2%

81.1%

Statewide Total

414,193

417,496

84.3%

84.5%

Table 2: Dropout Counts and Rates by Student Group

Ethnic/Racial Designation or Program

2020 Dropout Count

2019 Dropout Count

2020 Dropout Rate

2019 Dropout Rate

African American

3,621

4,116

13.0%

14.2%

American Indian or Alaska Native

370

442

13.7%

15.6%

Asian

1,948

1,360

4.3%

3.0%

Filipino

607

414

4.3%

2.8%

Hispanic or Latino

26,124

26,942

9.8%

10.2%

Pacific Islander

230

238

9.5%

9.8%

White

7,928

7,785

7.0%

6.7%

Two or More Races

1,207

1,189

7.9%

8.3%

Not Reported

1,613

2,010

37.5%

38.2%

English Learners

12,432

13,408

17.7%

18.4%

Foster Youth

1,987

2,137

24.6%

27.9%

Homeless Youth

6,107

6,239

17.5%

18.1%

Migrant Education

611

630

11.1%

11.2%

Students with Disabilities

7,209

7,831

12.1%

13.5%

Socioeconomically Disadvantaged

34,763

36,692

10.2%

10.8%

Statewide Total

43,648

44,496

8.9%

9.0%

# # # #

Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Friday, December 11, 2020
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