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The Class of 2010: Alameda Unified's High School Graduation Rate Better Than Statewide

Countywide, AUSD gets middle-of-the-pack grades. Seven districts fared better, seven worse, and one nearly the same.

More than 82 percent of Alameda's class of 2010 graduated from high school on time, performing significantly better than students countywide and across California as a whole, according to new figures released by the state's Department of Education.

In the , 82.5 percent of the "2010 cohort" — students who began ninth grade in fall, 2006 — graduated with their class in 2010, while 12.1 percent dropped out of high school along the way. 

(The figures don't add up to 100 percent because some students neither graduated nor dropped out. Those include students who were still enrolled in school after spring, 2010; non-diploma special education students; and those who passed the GED, or General Educational Development Test®.)

posted the highest graduation rate, 91.3 percent, with 7 percent of students dropping out. At , the graduation rate was 83.4 percent and the dropout rate was 11.2 percent.

For , the district's continuation high school, the graduation rate was 50.4 percent and the dropout rate was 31.6 percent; nearly one-fifth of the cohort, 18.1 percent, were shown as still enrolled.

At the , the graduation rate was 88.9 percent and the dropout rate was 11.1 percent. The school is operated by AUSD in partnership with the College of Alameda. Admission is competitive, and students from outside Alameda may apply.

Alameda also has two direct-funded charter schools at the high school level. For r, the graduation rate was 90.6 percent, the dropout rate 9.4 percent. At the , the graduation rate was 57.6, the dropout rate 24.2 percent.

Statewide, just 74.4 percent of the Class of 2010 graduated on time, while 18.2 percent dropped out. Alameda County as a whole had a graduation rate of 74.7 percent and a dropout rate of 19.1 percent.

This is the first time the Department of Education has based its graduation and dropout rates on four-year cohort information collected about individual students using the state’s California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS), according to a press release issued on Aug. 11.

"For far too long, the discussion about graduation and dropout rates has revolved around how the results were obtained. Now, we can focus on the much more important issue of how to raise the number of graduates and lower the number of dropouts,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in the release.

The previous formula, called the “National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) completer rate” is used to determine whether schools have met their targets for increasing the graduation rate for Adequate Yearly Progress reporting under the federal accountability system, according to the release.

The old formula relied mainly on dropouts as reported by individual schools and districts, and tended to show a higher graduation rate. Under the NCES formula, for example, AUSD's 2010 graduation rate would have been reported as 87.1 percent. The new formula, yielding a local graduation rate of 82.5 percent, is considered more accurate.

"For example, the NCES completer rate did not account for students who transferred into or out of schools over four years and overestimated the graduation rate.," according to the Department of Education release. "The new cohort rate takes student mobility into account."

Statewide, a significant difference persists between Hispanic and African American students and their peers, the release says.

"While there remains a significant graduation rate gap for Hispanic students at 67.7 percent, it is encouraging that about 4,700 more Hispanics graduated in 2010, by far the largest increase by any other subgroup of students," according to the release.

"Most troubling are the 59.0 percent graduation rate among African American students and the 56.3 percent graduation rate among English learners.

"Consistent with the graduation rates, the dropout rates also illustrate that African American students (30.1 percent) and English learners (31.1 percent) are more likely to drop out than their peers."

How Groups Fared in Alameda

Alameda Unifed's figures show a significant difference in graduation rates by race or ethnicity, with a smaller difference by gender. The figures below show only categories containing more than 10 students.

The first figure is the graduation rate and the second is the dropout rate. (As explained above, these figures don't total 100 percent.)

  • Hispanic or Latino (any race), 81.8%, 10% 
  • Asian, 92.3%, 6.5%
  • Pacific Islander, 77.8%, 11.1%
  • Filipino, 76.3%, 12.5%
  • African American, 64.7%, 25%
  • White, 83%, 12.8%
  • Female, 84.2%, 12.4%
  • Male, 81%, 11.9%

How AUSD Compares

In comparison with other Alameda County school districts, AUSD falls in the middle of the range.

Piedmont Unified School District had the county's highest 2010 graduation rate at 99.1 percent, with a dropout rate of .9 percent. Oakland Unified School District performed the worst, with a graduation rate of 53.4 percent and a dropout rate of 37 percent.

Fremont Unified School District had a graduation rate identical to AUSD's at 82.5 percent, but a lower dropout rate at 6.1 percent.

Here are figures from most Alameda County school districts, grouped geographically. (Again, the first number is the graduation rate, the second number is the dropout rate, and figures don't add up to 100 percent for the reasons given above.)

  • Alameda, 82.5%, 12.1%
  • Albany, 92.8%, 6.3%
  • Berkeley, 81.1%, 16.6%
  • Emery (Emeryville), 79.7%, 15.6%
  • Oakland, 53.4%, 37%
  • Piedmont, 99.1%, .9%
  • San Leandro, 79.3%, 18.1%
  • San Lorenzo, 80.1%, 16.7%
  • Castro Valley, 95%, 4.2%
  • Hayward, 64.9%, 30.6%
  • New Haven (Union City), 74.9%, 14.3%
  • Fremont, 82.5%, 6.1%
  • Newark, 86.4%, 12.9%
  • Dublin, 92.8%, 5.2%
  • Pleasanton, 95.4%, 2.6%
  • Livermore Valley Joint USD, 89.7%, 8.9%

More inforrmation is available at the California Dpartment of Education's DataQuest website. Choose "Dropouts" as the subject. 

 

Everyone makes mistakes, even Patch. If there's something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call Eve Pearlman at 510-825-5188, or email her at eve@patch.com.

Anthony Bologna, Jr. August 15, 2011 at 10:06 PM
Special request to all you kids returning to school in the next few days: If you see someone who is struggling to make friends or being bullied because he/she doesn't have many friends or because they are shy,or not as pretty, or not dressed in the most "in" clothes -PLEASE step up. Say Hi or at least smile at them in the hallway. You never know what that person might be facing outside of school. Your kindness might just make a BIG difference in someone's life! Sometimes, "a smile" is all it takes............

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