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California ranks in bottom half of states in graduation rate

November 26, 2012 |  6:22 pm

California ranked in the bottom half of states in the overall high school graduation rate in the 2010-2011 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The new data, the first in which all states use a common metric, replace the variety of different methods used by states to calculate and self-report graduation rates to the education department in years past. The new measurement more accurately accounts for students who drop out or who do not earn a regular high school diploma.

“By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Ultimately, these data will help states target support to ensure more students graduate on time, college and career ready.”

California ranked 32nd in overall graduation rate at 76%, tying with Utah, Washington and West Virginia. Iowa recorded the highest rate at 88% and the District of Columbia had the lowest at 59%.

The data also showed some achievement gaps among ethnic groups in California. The graduation rate for black students was 63%; for white students, it was 85%. Among Latinos, the rate was 70% and Asian or Pacific Islander students, the rate was 89%.

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--Stephen Ceasar

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