FERMIN LEAL/EDSOURCE TODAY

California’s high school graduation rate increased to 82.3 percent for the class of 2015, while the dropout rate fell to 10.7 percent, according to state figures released Tuesday.

It’s the sixth straight year that the state’s graduation rate grew compared to the previous year. Dropout rates have also steadily improved over the past six years.

Since 2010, when the graduation rate was 74.7 percent, the state has used the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System, or CalPADS, to track student classes over a four-year period. In 2010, 16.6 percent of students were identified as dropouts.

(Each year, some students fail to earn diplomas because of a lack of credits but continue working toward degrees. They are considered neither graduates nor dropouts.)

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson attributed progress made in graduation and dropout figures to the additional revenues flowing into public schools over the past few years.

“We are bringing back relevant and engaging classes in science, civics, arts, and Career Technical Education that were slashed during the Great Recession,” Torlakson said in a statement.

“This is encouraging news any way you look at it, especially since the increase is occurring as we are introducing much more rigorous academic standards.”

State officials said the suspension last year of the California High School Exit Exam, a graduation requirement since 2004, may have also contributed to 2015’s graduation rate increase.

The superintendent said he was also pleased to see graduation rates for almost every student subgroup improve, with Latino and African-American students growing at faster rates than the state average.

The statewide graduation rate for Latinos reached 78.5 percent for the class of 2015, an increase of 15 percent since 2010. About 70.8 percent of African-American students graduated with their class in 2015, an increase of 11 percent compared to 2010.

The state also released Tuesday the number of students in the class of 2015 who graduated eligible to attend the University of California and California State University.

About 43.4 percent of graduates completed all the necessary coursework to meet the minimum admissions requirements for UC and CSU.

The UC/CSU eligible rate percent has also gradually improved since 2010, when it was 36.3 percent.

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