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Graduation Rate Calculation

Methodology for measuring performance on Graduation Rate.

Two separate graduation rates have been adopted: one for traditional schools and one for schools with Dashboard Alternative School Status (DASS).

Graduation Rate for Traditional Schools

For traditional high schools, the graduation rate is based on the number of students who graduate with a regular high school diploma within four or five years. The rate is known as the combined four-and five-year graduation rate. To be counted as graduates under the combined graduations rate (i.e., to be included in the numerator of this rate), students must graduate with a regular high school diploma within four or five years of entering grade nine.

Performance on this measure is determined by (1) the percent of students who graduated in four or five years by the end of 2019 and (2) whether results (i.e., the graduation rate) improved or declined between 2018 and 2019.

Graduation Rate Formula

Number of Students Who Graduated in Four or Five Years by the End of 2019

divided by

Total Number of Students in the Class of 2019 plus Students Who Graduated in Five Years by the End of 2019

Graduation Rate for DASS Schools

A modified graduation rate is used to fairly evaluate the success and progress of DASS schools, which serve high-risk students. This modified graduation rate—called the DASS Graduation Rate— is based on students who are in grade twelve. To be counted as graduates under the DASS graduation rate, students must:

  • Attend a DASS school
  • Have been assigned to grade twelve, and
  • Received (1) a regular high school diploma or (2) an alternative certification approved for DASS schools.

Performance on this measure is determined by (1) the percent of students who graduated in 2018–19 and (2) whether results (i.e., the graduation rate) improved or declined between 2018 and 2019.

DASS Graduation Rate Formula

Number of Students Who Graduated in 2018–19

divided by

Total Number of Grade 12 Non-Graduates plus Students Who Graduated in 2018–19

Difference from Prior Year Graduation Rate Formula

Current Year Graduation Rate minus Prior Year Graduation Rate

DASS Graduation Rate Measure Five-by-Five Colored Table for Grade 12

A modified Five-by-Five colored table is used to determine the Color Performance for a DASS school’s Graduation rate. This DASS Graduation Rate Five-by-Five colored table should not be used for traditional schools.

Performance Level Declined Significantly

from Prior Year (by more than 10.0%)
Declined

from Prior Year (by 3.0% to 10.0%)
Maintained

from Prior Year (declined or
increased by less than 3.0%)
Increased

from Prior Year (by 3.0% to less than 10.0%)
Increased Significantly

from Prior Year (by 10.0% or greater)
Very High

90.5% or greater in Current Year
N/A
Blue
Blue
Blue
Blue
High

80.0% to less than 90.5% in Current Year
Orange
Yellow
Green
Green
Blue
Medium

70.0% to less than 80.0% in Current Year
Orange
Orange
Yellow
Green
Green
Low

68.0% to less than 70.0% in Current Year
Red
Orange
Orange
Yellow
Yellow
Very Low

Less than 68.0% in Current Year
Red
Red
Red
Red
Red

For details on who should be counted in the numerator and denominator, please see the California School Dashboard Technical Guide, which is posted on the California Department of Education (CDE) California School Dashboard and System of Support web page at California School Dashboard and System of Support.

Determining a Performance Level

Based on the current year and prior year data, a performance level (or color) will be given for this measure. The performance level is determined by using a five-by-five colored grid.

Example: Big League High School* has the following graduation rate data:

*Note: This example school is a Traditional school. The Graduation Rate Five-by-Five colored table used in this example is different than the DASS Graduation Rate Five-by-Five colored table. For a comparison of the two Graduation Rate Five-by-Five colored tables, please visit the Five-by-Five Colored Tables web page.

  • In the current year, its graduation rate was 96.0 percent
  • From the prior year to the current one, the graduation rate declined by 0.9 percentage points

Using the five-by-five grid for the Graduation Rate, we see that a graduation rate of 96 percent is considered "Very High" (see left column). Additionally, a decline of 0.9 percentage points from the prior year falls into the "Maintained" level (i.e., declined or increased by less than 1.0 percent.) on the grid, "Very High" and "Maintained" intersect at the Blue performance level, which is the highest level possible.

Performance Level Declined Significantly

from Prior Year (by 5.1% or greater)
Declined

from Prior Year (by 1.0% to 5.0%)
Maintained

from Prior Year (declined or
increased by less than 1.0%)
Increased

from Prior Year (by 1.0% to 4.9%)
Increased Significantly

from Prior Year (by 5.0% or greater)
Very High

95.0% or greater in Current Year
N/A
Blue

Blue

Blue League High School

Blue
Blue
High

90.0% to less than 95.0% in Current Year
Orange
Yellow
Green
Green
Blue
Medium

80.0% to less than 90.0% in Current Year
Orange
Orange
Yellow
Green
Green
Low

68.0% to less than 80.0% in Current Year
Red
Orange
Orange
Yellow
Yellow
Very Low

Less than 68.0% in Current Year
Red
Red
Red
Red
Red
Questions: Academic Accountability Team | aau@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0863 
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, April 7, 2021
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