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Graduation Rate Indicator Calculation

Methodology for measuring performance on the Graduation Rate Indicator.

This indicator is based on the four-year cohort graduation rates and applies to LEAs and schools that have 30 or more students in the four-year cohort.

Defining a Graduation Cohort

A graduation cohort is a group of high school students who could potentially graduate with a regular high school diploma within four years of entering grade nine. Note: Students who earn a Special Education Certificate of Completion or a California High School Equivalency Certificate are not counted as receiving a regular high school diploma.


The formulas below are used to calculate the graduation rate for Status and Change.

Graduation Rate Status Formula

Number of students who earn a regular high school diploma by the end of the 2015–16 school year

divided by

Total number of students in the 2016 graduating cohort

Graduation Rate Change Formula

Current Year Status minus Three-Year Weighted Average*


* If three years of data are not available, then two years or one year of data are used. For example, Foster Youth and Homeless Students will receive a performance level for the graduation rate for the first time in the Fall 2017 Dashboard These student groups will have only one year of data to calculate change.

For details on who should be counted in the numerator and denominator, please see the California School Dashboard Technical Guide: 2017–18 School Year.

Reporting Performance for the Graduation Rate Indicator

Based on the Status and Change results, a performance level (or color) will be given. Performance for this indicator can be reported using a five-by-five colored grid.

Below is an example of a five-by-five colored grid for a high school with:

  • A Status of 96.0%
  • A Change of −0.9%

In this example, the school did extremely well in the current year (Status), with 96% of students in the graduating cohort earning a regular high school diploma. It also maintained this high graduation rate from the prior year (Change). A Status of "Very High" and a Change of "Maintained" meet on the grid to give a performance level of Blue.

Graduation Status & Change example

More information on the five-by-five color table for the Graduation Rate Indicator can be found in the Resources tab on the California Accountability Model & School Dashboard.

Questions: Academic Accountability Team | | 916-319-0863 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, December 7, 2017
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