Fresno Unified School District would have had a 68 percent high school graduation rate in 2014 using the traditional California Department of Education calculations. Until 2010, the state simply compared the number of graduates versus the number of freshmen four years earlier.
The state’s new system no longer holds districts accountable for students they can reassign to county-run programs or to charter schools managed by other school districts. Previously, most of those kids would have been counted as dropouts – today they may be designated, on paper, as home schooled or taking or online courses somewhere else. Fresno Unified had 6,000 freshmen in 2010 and graduated 4,100 in 2014. But the state held them accountable for only 4,500 students – 3,600 graduated – a 79 percent success rate in the new system.
What happened to the 1,500 Fresno Unified students who were apparently assigned to various alternative programs? The combined enrollment at Clovis Unified, Sanger Unified and Visalia Unified school disricts is about equal to FUSD’s – but collectively they reassigned only 500 students. Each had 86 percent graduation rates using the old system versus 92 percent using the new standard. Statistics are from the state: http://dq.cde.
Jerrold H. Jensen, Visalia