December 15, 2023
California School Dashboard 2023 Update Shows Significant Reduction in Chronic Absenteeism, High Graduation Rates, and Fewer Local Educational Agencies in Need of Additional Support
Local educational agencies implementing new student supports and investments championed by Governor Gavin Newsom, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, and the Legislature to accelerate learning and improve student outcomes.
SACRAMENTO—The 2023 California School Dashboard is now online with data showing statewide improvements in student outcomes in several areas. The Dashboard is a key component of the state’s school accountability system, which includes the latest data on graduation rates, suspension rates, test scores, English Learner progress, the college/career indicator, chronic absenteeism, and local indicators.
Among other highlights, the 2023 Dashboard shows that students in California are graduating at higher levels than before the COVID-19 pandemic and are missing less class time year-over-year.
The four-year cohort graduation rate for the class of 2023 is 86.2%. While this represents a slight decrease from the class of 2022 (less than one percentage point), California’s overall graduation rate is still higher than pre-pandemic levels. The slight decrease is to the phase-out of Assembly Bill 104, which allowed for temporary flexibility in graduation requirements and course grading policies for high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2022–23 four-year adjusted cohort also included more graduates who meet the University of California/California State University admission requirements than prior to the pandemic, with 223,727 students (50.4% of graduates) graduating eligible for admission at California’s public universities.
Additionally, 219 school districts and county offices of education that were previously eligible for differentiated assistance have made significant improvements in student outcomes and are no longer eligible for differentiated assistance. Only 68 school districts and county offices of education became newly eligible for differentiated assistance based on “needs to improve” outcomes for specific student groups. This statewide improvement comes after a record 617 districts and county offices of education were eligible for differentiated assistance in 2022 (following the pandemic).
This statewide improvement is primarily due to improved outcomes on the Chronic Absenteeism indicator, which indicates a reversal of a concerning trend in school attendance that began during the pandemic. The Chronic Absenteeism rate, which measures the number of students who missed 10 percent of the days they were enrolled for any reason, declined to 24.3 percent in 2022–23, which is a 5.7 percentage point decline from an all-time high of 30 percent in 2021–22. California’s reported decrease is greater than the 11-state average reported in October and, notably, equity gaps in Chronic Absenteeism are becoming smaller, with the most vulnerable students improving fastest and no student groups any longer in the lowest “red” or “orange” categories.
“This is encouraging news—and our work is not complete,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “We have made an unprecedented investment in services that address the needs of the whole child. We can see that those efforts are paying off, but this is only the beginning. We need to continue providing students with the tools they need to excel, especially now that we are successfully reengaging our students and families, so we can close gaps in achievement in the same way that we have begun to close the equity gaps in attendance and absenteeism.”
“Recovery from the pandemic has been a long process all across the country,” said California State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond. “While we have a long way to go, these results show that California is making strides, especially in enabling students to get to school and graduate ready for college and careers. Governor Newsom, Superintendent Thurmond, and the Legislature have continually prioritized supporting our students and educators, and today’s data show a number of areas where we’re making progress. It is our hope that the Dashboard results will provide valuable information to educators about the effectiveness of learning acceleration efforts and other programs implemented to help all students thrive.”
In recent years, the state has made significant investments in K–12 public education, with a focus on accelerating learning and prioritizing equity that includes $7.9 billion for the Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant. The 2023 Budget Act provided $129.2 billion in total K–12 education funding—the highest per-pupil state funding ever for California students.
Additionally, beginning in the 2022–23 school year, the state allocated billions to expand access to Transitional Kindergarten for tens of thousands of four-year-old children to improve Kindergarten readiness and long-term student outcomes. The 2022 and 2023 Budget Acts also provided a total of $500 million to fund the Literacy Coaches and Reading Specialists Grant Program, which supports the development of school literacy programs and interventions to help pupils in need of targeted literacy support. The results of these important new investments should be reflected in future Dashboards.More information is available on the California Department of Education Dashboard Resources web page.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100