California’s high school graduation rate continues to inch up, with 81 percent of the class of 2014 earning diplomas.
It’s the fifth straight year graduation rates have increased and marks a new record for California. Last year, 80.8 percent of seniors graduated, up from 80.4 percent in 2013, according to state figures released Tuesday.
English learners posted the largest gain, although their graduation rates and those of Latino and African-American students continue to lag those of other students. The graduation rate among English learners hit 65.3 percent in 2014, up 2.2 percentage points from the previous year.
The rate among Latino students increased 0.7 percentage points to 76.4 percent, while the rate among African-American students remained steady at 68.1 percent.
Other racial groups saw declines. The graduation rate among American Indian students dropped 2.7 percentage points to 70 percent, while the rate among white students dropped 0.3 percentage points, to 87.4 from 87.7 in 2013.
The dropout rate increased slightly, up 0.2 percentage points to 11.6 percent. The state also saw a drop in the number of students who remain in school after their fourth year but have not graduated, such as special education students, students working toward a GED or those still working toward their diploma. That group of students declined 0.5 percentage points.
The graduation rate is based on the number of students who graduate in four years or less; the dropout rate is based on the number of students who leave school without graduating and do not remain enrolled after the end of the fourth year.
State Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson praised the “record high graduation rate” in a statement, saying that extra money for schools has translated to additional staff and extra resources to help prepare students for graduation.
“I challenge educators, parents, students and community leaders to continue the hard work needed to help every student graduate,” Torlakson said, “and to make a special effort to raise graduation rates for English learners and Latino and African-American students.”
Graduation rates for individual districts and schools are available through DataQuest.