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Dublin district says dropout rate inaccurate

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 at 6:55 pm in Alameda County, Dublin school district, Education, Theresa Harrington.

By Theresa Harrington

A report released by the state Department of Education today erroneously showed the Dublin school district’s dropout rate was 99.9 percent, Dublin Superintendent Stephen Hanke told me late this afternoon.

Unfortunately, Hanke contacted me after my deadline (and hours after I had left a message for him with his secretary), so I was unable to add his comments to my print story.

“This is obviously a gross error,” he said. “If you look at the actual rate and how that is reported, they add in some lost transfers.”

According to the state report , the district had 21 grade 9-12 dropouts in 2008-09 out of 1,556 students, reflecting an estimated four-year drop-out rate of 5.3 percent. Eight students re-enrolled, but the district shows 1,015 as “lost transfers,” meaning they left the district and cannot be accounted for.

This is the number that appears to be in error, and which pushed the district’s estimated dropout total to 1,028 students or 99.9 percent.

“We’re actually down less than 1 percent,” Hanke said. “I would say that the issue is likely that this is CALPADS (California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System) and this is the first year and there are some errors in sending or receiving data. We are in the process of calling the state Department of Education.”

Hanke said he conceptually agrees that CALPADS is a good way to track students. However, there is a learning curve with any new system, he said.

In addition, the district got a new student tracking system in the fall, which has further added to the learning curve, Hanke added. Still, he said he suspected the error occurred at the state level, rather than at the district level.

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