Lodi-area high school students are graduating at a slightly higher rate than their counterparts statewide, according to data released Tuesday by the California Department of Education.
The rates are calculated for counties, districts and individual schools based on four-year cohort information using the state’s California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System, commonly known as CALPADS. The cohort refers to the same group of students who began high school as freshmen in 2008 and graduated four years later.
This is the third time this four-year cohort information was calculated, meaning data may only be compared accurately over the three-year period from the 2009-10 academic year to 2011-12.
In Lodi Unified, 239 students — or 12 percent — dropped out between their freshmen and senior years, compared to 364 the previous year and 473 in 2010. The rate does not include students at alternative high schools, as those are calculated differently, and others are still in school working on a GED.
Of those 239 students, 87 were Hispanic, 65 were white, 51 Asian and 20 black, according to the state’s data. Across all ethnicities, most were male.
Tokay High’s retention rate continued to improve, with only 36 cohort drop-outs in the Class of 2012. Between the previous two years, there was a drastic improvement, from 66 cohort dropouts in 2010 to just 39 in 2011. Lodi High, too, saw a decrease from 43 dropouts last year to 27 this year.
Tokay High Principal Erik Sandstrom said he hasn’t thoroughly read the report, but at first blush, he sees three reasons more of his students are staying in school:
• Students have been told that, due to the downturn in the economy, education is more important than ever.
“I think students have heard that message,” Sandstrom said.
• The Lodi Unified board of trustees has emphasized career technical classes more during the past two years in order for students to be trained for the job market.
• Due to the economy, fewer families are moving. Students from farmworker families aren’t taking extended trips home to Mexico. Either they go to Mexico and stay there, or they stay in Lodi, which provides greater continuity in their education.
Galt High School, too, showed improvement in its graduation rates in 2012, when only 26 students in the cohort dropped out, compared to 33 in 2011 and 38 in 2010.
Liberty Ranch High School did not have any rates to report, as the school did not have a graduating class in 2011. About 95 percent of its Class of 2012 graduated, although those numbers only reflect three years of cohort data.
Sixty-two — or 12 percent — of the Galt district’s students in the Class of 2012 dropped out. Of those, 20 were Hispanic and 28 white.
Statewide, graduation rates among California’s public school students are climbing and dropout rates are falling, with the biggest gains being made among black and Hispanic students.
Overall, nearly eight out of 10 students, or 79 percent, who started high school in the 2008-09 academic year graduated with their class in 2012. That is up 1.4 percentage points from the year before. Among black students, 66 percent graduated with their class in 2012, up 3 percentage points from the year before. Among Hispanic students, 73 percent graduated with their class, up 2 percentage points from the year before.
Cohort graduation rates are used to determine whether schools met their targets for increasing the graduation rate for the Adequate Yearly Progress reporting under the federal school accountability system. The cohort dropout rate is calculated for high school students in ninth through 12th grade, although some students drop out as early as middle school.
News-Sentinel staff writer Ross Farrow contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.