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New data suggests higher local graduation rate

California standardizes data collection

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Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 2:34 pm

Graduation rates are up and dropout rates have fallen in California high schools, according to the latest data from the state.

The California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System survey lists an 83 percent graduation rate in Half Moon Bay High School, reflecting the success of 225 students out of a class of 271 in 2011.

Nineteen students were reported as having dropped out. Twenty-one were recorded as still enrolled for another term, and less than 1 percent received a GED.

The graduation rate rose in 2011, compared to 205 out of 254 students, or 80.7 percent, graduating from CUSD schools in 2010.

At Pescadero High School, 16 out of 22 students graduated (72.2 percent), while 18.2 percent were reported as not graduating and 9.1 percent as continuing enrollment in 2011.

In 2010, 21 out of 25 students graduated in the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District.

Across the state, there was a 76.3 percent graduation rate in 2011, up 1.5 percent from 2010.

Populations with greatest improvement in California schools include Hispanic and black students, whose graduation rates increased by more than 2 percentage points.

The most significant gain was seen with English-language learners, who increased by 3.8 percentage points.

The CALPADS statistics are a result of data gathered three times a year for students who started high school in 2007.

"These numbers are a testament to the hard work of teachers and administrators, of parents and, most of all, of the students themselves," said Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction, in a prepared statement.

It's difficult to compare this year's measurements to years prior to 2010, however, because CALPADS was not in place.

Prior to 2009 when the system was introduced, there was no standard way to keep tabs on student progress at nearly 1,000 districts within the state, especially if students transferred schools.

Now, with CALPADS, each student is assigned a statewide student identifier that follows a child at every California school he or she attends.

"We really can track data trends over time … as we move forward into the future," said Anne Campbell, the San Mateo County superintendent.

Teachers are working on differentiating needs and receiving training on educating English-language learners, resulting in more students graduating, Campbell said.

"We're starting to see work and development show up in school achievement data."

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