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A closer look at graduation and dropout rates in the East Bay

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, May 29th, 2015 at 5:09 pm in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Education.

High school seniors earning diplomas this year may help schools and districts raise graduation rates for 2015, building on improvement seen in most districts between 2013 and 2014.

Just last month, the state released graduation and dropout rates for 2014, which showed 80.8 percent of students from the class of 2014 graduated, up 0.4 percent from the previous year.

But, during the same time, dropout rates statewide rose 0.2 percent, from 11.4 percent in 2013 to 11.6 percent in 2014. Those figures did not include students who continued their education without graduating, according to the state.

In the East Bay, overall graduation rates in Alameda and Contra Costa counties surpassed the statewide average, while dropout rates fell below. Alameda County’s graduation rate shot up 2 percentage points to 82.8 percent, while Contra Costa’s climbed 0.2 percentage points to 85.9 percent.

Dropout rates in Alameda County fell from 11.1 percent in 2013 to 10.7 percent in 2014, while Contra Costa County dropout rates dipped from 8.2 to 8.1 percent.

Progress in districts varied, with most graduation rates exceeding the state average and the majority of dropout rates falling below the state average. Here’s how East Bay districts stacked up, with 2013 and 2014 graduation rates followed by 2013 and 2014 dropout rates. Changes are in parentheses.

STATE: 80.4, 80.8, (+0.4); 11.4, 11.6, (+0.2)

ALAMEDA COUNTY: 80.8, 82.8, (+2.0); 11.1, 10.7, (-0.4)
Alameda Unified: 84.7, 86.0, (+1.3); 8.4, 8.6, (+0.2)
Albany Unified: 91.0, 89.7, (-1.3); 7.5, 6.4, (-1.1)
Berkeley Unified: 85.5, 89.0, (+3.5); 11.6, 9.1, (-2.5)
Castro Valley Unified: 94.9, 95.2, (+0.3); 2.6, 2.5, (0.1)
Dublin Unified: 95.6, 92.9, (-2.7); 1.6, 3.5, (+1.9)
Emery Unified: 80.0, 83.6, (+3.6); 17.8, 14.5, (-3.3)
Fremont Unified: 82.1, 92.6, (+10.5); 17.9, 4.5, (-13.4)
Hayward Unified: 76.7, 79.6, (+2.9); 19.2, 14.8, (-4.4)
Livermore Joint Valley Unified: 91.4, 90.0, (-1.4); 6.4, 5.9, (-0.5)
New Haven Unified: 79.9, 85.2, (+5.3); 9.2, 7.3, (-1.9)
Newark Unified: 87.9, 89.9, (+2.0); 9.9, 7.4, (-2.5)
Piedmont Unified: 98.1, 100.0, (+1.9); 1.4, 0, (-1.4)
Pleasanton Unified: 95.3, 95.7, (+0.4); 2.1, 2.0, (-0.1)
San Leandro Unified: 82.4, 85.9, (+3.5); 13.8, 9.2, (-4.6)
San Lorenzo Unified: 85.8, 85.4, (-0.4); 11.2, 10.7, (-0.5)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: 85.9, 86.1, (+0.2); 8.2, 8.1, (-0.1)
Acalanes Union High: 98.1, 97.8, (-0.3); 0.6, 0.8, (+0.20)
Antioch Unified: 77.8, 77.4, (-0.4); 11.2, 11.6, (+0.4)
John Swett Unified: 89.6, 83.9, (-5.7); 7.2, 14.7, (+7.5)
Liberty Union High: 86.9, 88.7, (+1.8); 4.5, 4.0, (-0.5)
Martinez Unified: 88.4, 91.2, (+2.8); 9.1, 5.7, (-3.4)
Mt. Diablo Unified: 82.6, 85.1, (+2.5); 12.4, 10.2, (-2.2)
Pittsburg Unified: 71.3, 74.5, (+3.2); 21.5, 20.2, (-1.3)
San Ramon Valley Unified: 98.4, 98.3, (-0.1); 0.4, 0.6, (+0.2)
West Contra Costa Unified: 79.9, 77.7, (-2.2); 13.3, 14.6, (+1.3)

Congratulations to the Piedmont district in Alameda County, which achieved a graduation rate of 100 percent! Kudos also to the Fremont district, which raised its graduation rate by 10.5 percentage points and lowered its dropout rate by 13.4 percentage points.

In Contra Costa County, the Acalanes district had the highest graduation rate at 97.8 percent. However, this was a drop from 98.1 percent the previous year.

The Pittsburg, Martinez and Mt. Diablo districts had the greatest increases in graduation rates, rising by 2.5 percentage points or more. The Martinez district saw the biggest dropout rate decline, falling 3.4 percentage points.

Mt. Diablo district Superintendent Nellie Meyer attributed gains to intervention and credit recovery programs, along with great teaching.

“We are very proud of our schools for their dedication and support of their students,” she said in a prepared statement. “We know that this is a K-12 effort and that strong graduation rates are a team effort.”

Graduation and dropout rates for individual schools can be found on a searchable database at: http://www.contracostatimes.com/data/ci_28100311/2013-14-grads-dropouts

Statewide graduation and dropout rates can be found on the state’s website at: http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/

How do you think schools and districts could improve graduation and dropout rates even more?

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One Response to “A closer look at graduation and dropout rates in the East Bay”

  1. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I received a response from the Mt. Diablo school district about the district’s initial claim that its graduation rate rose by 4 percentage points from last year. After I pointed out that this was not true, I received an e-mail from Debbie Maher, administrative assistant to the superintendent that said:

    “In looking at our data, I see that the current rate of 85.1% was compared to the rate two years previous of 81.2%, rather than the prior year. This accounted for the 4% increase. The line in the press release should read ‘Mt. Diablo Unified School District increases graduation rate by 4% points over the last two years.’ I appreciate you making me aware of the error; I will correct it on this end.”

    Since then, the Superintendent’s May message has been corrected to show a graduation increase of 4 percent over two years instead of from the previous year: http://demo.mdusd.org/cms/block_view?d=x&piid=1432281722560&block_id=1432017812572

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