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Graduation Rate

  • The graduation rate indicator tracks the rate at which students graduate in four years. The State of California has been calculating and publishing the 4-year cohort grad rates since 2010-11, based on rules established by the federal government under the No Child Left Behind Act. The goal was to improve high school accountability by establishing “a uniform and accurate measure of the high school graduation rate that is comparable across States”.

    California calculates graduation rates for school districts and high schools that have 30 or more students in the 4-year 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. 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, but they are counted in the cohort.

  • Status and Change

    Status and Change will not be reported in the 2018 Dashboard.

  • How It's Calculated

    The following is an example of how status and change are calculated for the graduation rate indicator based on the Class of 2017:

    • Status – Number of cohort members who can earn a regular high school diploma by the end of 2016-17 divided by number of first-time grade nine students in 2013-14 plus students who transfer in, minus students who transfer out, emigrate, or die during school years 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17.
    • Change – Current Year Status (Class of 2017) minus Three-Year weighted average (Class of 2014, 2015 and 2016). If three years of data are not available, then 2 years or one year of data are used.



    The five-by-five grid combines status and change to determine an overall performance level for each indicator, with equal weight applied to both status and change. To learn more about the five-by-five grids, visit the CDE’s California School Dashboard Five-by-Five Colored Tables page.

    See the Five-by-Five grid for the Graduation Rate Indicator on the CDE’s California School Dashboard Five-by-Five Colored Tables page.


    Learn More About This Indicator

    To learn more about the Graduation Rate Indicator, see page 119 of the California Department of Education’s California School Dashboard Technical Guide.



    For questions about Graduation Rate data submitted to the California Department of Education, contact the State Reporting Services Branch at 213-241-2450.

    Last updated 2017-10-30


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