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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 each spring. For schools that wish to receive a DASS status for the 2019 Dashboard, the application process opened on March 25, 2019. The application process contains two parts, each of which has separate due dates:

  • Part I is due on April 15, 2019.
  • Part II is due on August 15, 2019.


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

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

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 Elementary applied for DASS status in March 2019 and was approved for DASS after submitting Part II of the application in August 2019. The school will receive a DASS status for three Dashboard cycles (i.e., 2019, 2020, and 2021 Dashboards). If Apple Tree Elementary wishes to retain its DASS status for the next three years, it will need to re-apply in March 2022.

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.

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 who transfer out of a traditional school and enrolled in a DASS school within my district. How is the student 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 is the school in which the student was last enrolled).
  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 rate 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: At the district-level, Daniela is included in both the numerator and denominator of the district’s 2018–19 graduation rate under the DASS school. She is excluded from the district’s combined four- and five-year graduation rate.

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.

When one of my students first enrolled, 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 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 are 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. For the 2018 Dashboard, the CDE made adjustments to 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 if they earn the standard high school diploma or pass the 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), Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC), or earn a standard diploma, are counted as graduates in the DASS graduation rate.

For the first time in 2018–19, information on whether students with disabilities (SWDs) participate in a transition program (i.e., Postsecondary/Transition Status Indicator) was collected in CALPADS. How will this information impact the DASS graduation rate?

SWDs who participate in a transition program (i.e., Postsecondary/Transition Status Indicator is “Y”) will be excluded from the DASS graduation rate (not included in either the numerator or denominator). This rule will also apply to the calculation of the four-year cohort graduation rate. However, it is important to remember that SWDs will be included in the calculation of the four-year graduation rate with their original graduating class (i.e., four years after they enter grade nine).

Further information on how to identify a student in “postsecondary transition status” is available on the California Department of Education (CDE) CALPADS Update FLASH #156 web page.

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, 2019, would be included in the graduating class of 2019.

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

  • For example, a student who graduated on August 16, 2019 would be included in the graduating class of 2020.
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.

I heard that new modified CCI measures were being developed for DASS schools. If so, which ones are they?

At the end of the 2018–19 academic year, the CDE will be collecting the following new career measures that could potentially be used in the CCI:

  • Workforce Readiness Certificate Program Completion
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Certification Program Completion
  • Food Handler Certification Program Completion
  • State or Federal Job Program Completion
  • WorkAbility I Work-Based Learning Program Completion
  • Department of Rehabilitation Student Services Work-based Learning Program Completion

Two of the above measures in italics (Food Handler Certificate and State or Federal Job) are only applicable to DASS schools. The remaining measures are applicable to all schools (DASS and non-DASS).

The last two measures (WorkAbility I Work-Based Learning Program Completion and Department of Rehabilitation Student Services Work-based Learning Program Completion) are being collected in California Special Education Management Information System (CASEMIS), not CALPADS, in 2018–19. These two measures may potentially be included in the CCI beginning with the 2019 Dashboard. Please see the CDE CALPADS Flash #156 to access the details of these two measures.

Details regarding the new career measures—including definitions, examples, collection method and when the measures could potentially be included in the CCI—were sent in an April 2019 letter to Dashboard, Accountability, DASS, and CALPADS LEA Coordinators. Additional guidance on pre-apprenticeship was also made in available in CALPADS Flash # 157, which is posted on the CDE CALPADS Communications 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: Friday, September 13, 2019
Recently Posted in Accountability