By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Graduation rates on the rise locally, statewide
grad rates pic
In the Turlock Unified School District, 90.8 percent of students who began high school in 2010-11 graduated with their class in 2014, up 0.7 percent from the previous year. - photo by Journal file photo

Graduation is just around the corner and if this year is anything like the past five years, more and more students will be receiving their diplomas to reflect the rise of graduation rates seen throughout California.

As was reported by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, California’s cohort graduation rate has managed to rise for the fifth year in a row, settling at a record high of 80.8 percent for students who graduated with their class in 2014.

Statewide, many individual student groups have also experienced increased graduation rates in 2013-14, including English learners who received a boost of 2.2 percent from 2012-13 numbers and Hispanic and Latino students, both of which underwent an increase of 0.7 percent from the year before.

“Our record high graduation rate is great news, especially since it is occurring at the same time we are raising academic standards,” said Torlakson. “This is more evidence that the dramatic changes taking place in our schools are gradually helping to improve teaching and learning in every classroom. We have raised academic standards, started online testing, given local districts more flexibility in spending, and provided more resources to students who need it the most.”

Not only is the state experiencing an increase in graduation rates, but local school districts such as Turlock Unified School District and Hilmar Unified School District are also patting themselves on the back for their own diploma-earning increases.

Among students who began high school in 2010-11 in TUSD, 90.8 percent graduated with their class in 2014, up 0.7 percent from the previous year.

To accompany the overall increase throughout TUSD, many student groups throughout TUSD also benefitted from an increase in 2013-14, including white students who underwent an increase of 2.8 percent and African American students who underwent an increase of 6.8 percent.

Amongst programs offered at TUSD, migrant education students experienced a decreased cohort graduation rate from 87.5 percent in 2012-13 to 82.9 percent in 2013-14, while special education students marked a significant 17 percent increase in cohort graduation rates for 2013-14.

Similar to their neighboring district in Turlock, students who embarked on their high school careers in 2010-11 in HUSD also reflected a graduation rate of 91 percent, up 1 percent from last year.

Most notably, HUSD welcomed a significant decrease in its cohort dropout rate for white students in 2013-14 at 2.7 percent, which comes as a significant 4 percent less than last year’s rate of 6.7 percent.

Amongst programs offered at HUSD, graduation rates for English learners decreased by 5.6 percent, while graduation rates for migrant education students increased from 75 percent in 2012-13 to 84.6 percent in 2013-14.

Unlike TUSD and HUSD, Denair Unified School District experienced a decrease of 0.7 percent in graduation rates for 2013-14 at 74.3 percent, or 150 graduates out of 202 cohort students district-wide.  In 2012-13, the graduation rate was 75 percent, or 153 graduates out of 204 cohort students district-wide.

Although DUSD may view the aforementioned decrease as negative, it definitely welcomed a second decrease—this time in the cohort dropout rate. For 2013-2014, the cohort dropout rate district-wide in DUSD was 15.3 percent, down 1.4 percent from the previous year.

Additionally, DUSD experienced a 6.2 percent increase in graduation rates for English learners, but a decreased graduation rate for special education students from 72.7 percent in 2012-13 to 69 percent in 2013-14.

According to Torlakson, the many increases seen locally and throughout the state are due to the extra resources provided to schools that have gone towards benefiting programs that are specifically designed to help students graduate.

“I challenge educators, parents, students, and community leaders to continue the hard work needed to help every student graduate,” said Torlakson, “and to make a special effort to raise graduation rates for English learners and Latino and African American students.”

To view and download state, county, district, and school graduation and dropout rates, visit the California Department of Education’s DataQuest at