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Dashboard Alternative School Status (DASS) FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for the DASS Program.

DASS Application

When can schools apply for DASS Status?

The DASS application opens in January. The application process consists of two parts, each of which has separate due dates:

  • Part I is an online survey, which is due in January.
  • Part II is the submission of documentation of approval by the local governing board, which is due by the end of June.


To view the eligibility criteria and application process, please visit the California Department of Education (CDE) DASS web page.

I only submitted Part I of the application and never submitted Part II. Can I still submit Part II after the deadline date?

No. Participating in DASS is contingent upon completing both Parts I and II. Submitting only Part I (online survey) will disqualify a school’s DASS application.

I applied for DASS last year and got approved. Do I have to reapply for DASS again this year?

Schools receive DASS status for three school years (e.g., 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21). They must reapply for DASS status in the following spring after the final year of their cycle.

Example: Apple Tree Continuation High applied for DASS status in Spring 2021and was approved for DASS after submitting Part II of the application in Summer 2021. The school will receive a DASS status for three Dashboard cycles (i.e., 2021, 2022, and 2023 Dashboards). If Apple Tree Continuation High wishes to retain its DASS status after the 2023 Dashboard, it will need to re-apply in Spring 2024.

One of my schools was approved for DASS last year. However, starting next year, the school will be split into five schools. Will all five schools inherit the DASS status of the original school? Or, will I have to apply for DASS for all five schools?

Every school that receives a new seven-digit School Code will be considered a new school. Therefore, a DASS application will need to be submitted for each school that receives a new School Code.

However, if one of the schools retained the original School Code, that school will retain its DASS status.

If a DASS school receives a new School Code, will the school have to re-apply for DASS?

Yes. Any school that receives a new seven-digit School Code is considered a new school, and it will not be identified as a DASS school by the CDE until the school applies and is approved for DASS. Therefore, we encourage schools that receive a new School Code to apply for DASS as soon as the next available application process opens.

Part I of the application process requires submitting the percent of high-risk students at my school. What data should I use to calculate the percentage?

All of the data needed to calculate the percent of high-risk students at your school can be determined from your local student information system:

  • The denominator is based on the total number of students currently enrolled at your school at the time of completing Part I. It is not based on the census day enrollment.
  • The numerator is based on the number of students who meet the high-risk definition approved by the State Board of Education at the time when they first enrolled at the school. (Therefore, a student’s high-risk status at the time when Part I is completed is not used.)

To determine which of your students are high-risk, take the students in the denominator and review each student’s record when he/she first enrolled at the school. Any of these students who meet the high-risk definition (see high-risk definitions on the CDE DASS Eligibility Criteria web page) are included in the numerator.

  • Example: When Julio first enrolled at School A, he was NOT a Foster Youth. However, at the time of completing Part I of the DASS application, Julio was designated as Foster Youth. Because Julio was not a Foster Youth when he first enrolled at the school, he cannot be counted as Foster Youth (i.e., not included in the numerator when calculating the school’s high-risk percentage).

DASS Graduation Rate

I have students in my district who transfer out of traditional schools and enroll in DASS schools. How are these students included in the district's graduation rate?

At the district-level, students are included only once in the district's graduation rate:

  • In the non-DASS school's combined four-and five-year graduation rate, or
  • In the DASS graduation rate.

When students transfer from a non-DASS school to a DASS school, the student is:

  1. Removed from the combined graduation rate for both the non-DASS school and the district,
  2. Included in the DASS graduation rate for the DASS school (because this was where the student was last enrolled), and
  3. Included in the district’s graduation rate under the DASS graduation rate. (Note: at the district level, the graduation rate includes both the combined four- and five-year graduation rates and the DASS graduation rate.)

Here are examples of how students are included in the school and district’s graduation rates when they transfer between non-DASS and DASS schools:

Example: On February 7, 2019, Daniela, a fourth-year grade twelve student, transferred from a non-DASS school to a DASS school. (Both schools are within the same district.) At the DASS school, Daniela is also placed in grade twelve. She does not graduate at the end of the school year.

How is Daniela included in the schools’ and district’s graduation rates?

School-Level: Because Daniela transferred out of the non-DASS school, she is removed from this school's 2018–19 combined four- and five-year graduation rate. The DASS school is held accountable for Daniela because this is where she was last enrolled. Since Daniela did not graduate, she is included in the denominator but not the numerator of the DASS graduation rate.

District-Level: Daniela is included in the denominator (but not the numerator) of the district’s 2018–19 graduation rate via the DASS school.

Example 2: On April 3, 2018, Robert, a senior in grade twelve, transferred from a non-DASS school to a DASS school. (Both schools are in the same district.) At the DASS school, Robert is also placed in grade twelve. Robert did not graduate at the DASS school by end of the 2017–18 school year, and he re-enrolls there for a second year. At the end of that year, he earns the standard diploma.

How is Robert included in the schools’ and district’s graduation rates?

Because this scenario covers two academic years, Robert is counted as follows:

2017–18 school year: Because Robert transferred out of the non-DASS school in 2017–18, he is removed from the 2017–18 graduation rate at the non-DASS school.

Because the DASS school is his last school of enrollment, he is included in the denominator of the DASS graduation rate for both the school and district. However, since he did not graduate by the end of the year, he is not counted in the numerator of the graduation rate, for either the school or district.

2018–19 school year: Because Robert graduated at the DASS school, he is included as a graduate (i.e., counted in the both the numerator and denominator) in the DASS school's 2018–19 DASS graduation rate. He is also included as a graduate in the district's 2018–19 graduation rate.

When one of my students first enrolled at my DASS school, he was a junior. Now, after four months, he has received enough credits to be placed as a senior (grade twelve). Will the student be included in the DASS graduation rate?

All students in grade twelve are included in the calculation of the DASS graduation rate. Because the student’s last enrollment record in California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) shows him in grade twelve, the student will be included in the denominator of the school's DASS graduation rate.

My school uses a student’s age to place him/her in a specific grade level. However, other schools use the number of credits that a student has earned to place him/her in a specific grade level. Which rule should be used?

Placing students in specific grade levels is based on local policy.

A grade twelve student at my DASS school transferred to an adult education program. Will this student be included in my school’s DASS graduation rate?

Yes. Beginning with the 2018 Dashboard, the CDE adjusted the 2016–17 and 2017–18 four-year cohort graduation rates to address audit findings from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General. One of the adjustments was to keep students who transfer to an adult education program in the cohort rather than removing them. To align with the federal findings, grade twelve students who transfer from a DASS school to an adult education program will remain in the DASS school’s cohort (i.e., included in the denominator).

A grade twelve student at my DASS school received an adult education diploma. Will this student be included in my school’s DASS graduation rate and be counted as a graduate?

Yes. As long as the student met the enrollment requirement (e.g., enrolled at your school for at least 90 cumulative calendar days or 30 cumulative calendar days), the student will be counted as a graduate in your school’s DASS graduation rate (i.e., included in both the numerator and denominator).

I know that students are counted as graduates at the DASS schools if they earn the standard high school diploma or pass the General Educational Development (GED). But are they counted as graduates if they passed the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE)?

Yes. Students who pass the CHSPE, GED, High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), earn an adult education diploma, or earn a standard diploma, are counted as graduates in the DASS graduation rate. In addition, students with disabilities (SWDs) who earn a Special Education Certificate of Completion are also eligible to be counted as graduates.

Are students with disabilities (SWDs) who participate in a transition program included in the DASS graduation rate?

No. Students who participate in a transition program for SWDs are removed from both the numerator and denominator of the DASS graduation rate. The CDE takes transition program participation information from the CALPADS Student Enrollment (SENR) File (Field 1.43 - Postsecondary/Transition Status Indicator).

Are summer graduates included in the DASS graduation rate?

Yes. Students who graduate from July 1 through August 15 are included in the current graduating class as a summer graduate.

  • For example, a student who graduated on July 15, 2021, would be included in the graduating class of 2021.

Students who graduate after August 15 are included in the next graduating class:

  • For example, a student who graduated on August 16, 2021 would be included in the graduating class of 2022.
Are summer graduates expected to meet enrollment requirements?

No. There are no minimum enrollment requirements for summer graduates.

Where can I access the business rules to the DASS graduation rate?

Details on the DASS graduation rate can be accessed at the following CDE web pages:

College/Career Indicator (CCI) for DASS Schools

Which students are included in the CCI for my DASS school? Is the CCI based on the four- and five-year combined graduation rate or the DASS graduation rate?

The students in the DASS graduation rate are used as the base of students included in the calculations of the CCI for DASS schools.

Are there measures in the CCI that apply to DASS schools?

All measures in the CCI apply to both DASS and non-DASS schools, except for the State or Federal Job Programs measure, which applies only to DASS schools. To access the list of State Board of Education-approved CCI measures, including the placement criteria (Prepared, Approaching Prepared, and Not Prepared), please see the following CCI flyers:

In 2020–21, the CDE collected data on the following new career measures that could potentially be included in the CCI in future years:

  • Internships
  • Student-Led Enterprise
  • Simulated Work-Based Learning
  • Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT)

Further information on these new career measures are available on the CDE Work-Based Learning Measures web page.

Next Steps

Will additional modified methods (beyond the graduation rate and CCI) be developed in future years?

The CDE will continue to work with the California Alternative Schools Task Force and other stakeholder groups to explore modified methods for the remaining state indicators.

Questions: DASS Team | dass@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0863 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 14, 2021