Graduation Rates in L.A. Unified Improve By Race

LOS ANGELES – The percentage of high school graduates from the Los Angeles Unified School District rose overall last year for racial and ethnic groups by double-digit margins, a testament to the commitment by teachers, counselors, administrators, support staff, and parents to prepare students for college and the workforce.

For the first time ever, the District reported that Latino, Asian, African American and white students raised their graduation rates during 2013-14 by at least 12 percentage points. Other groups of students also improved.  

The rising figures came as little surprise. Earlier this month, L.A. Unified reported the preliminary high school graduation rate in 2013-14 jumped to 77 percent from a year earlier, a 12 percent gain. When factoring in option schools, which offer an alternative education to those whose needs are unmet in traditional high schools, the preliminary graduation rate still grew to 67 percent, up from 58 percent a year ago. Both marks were record-highs.

 “I am very proud of our LAUSD team, who helped us get closer to our 100% graduation rate goal,” said Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic. “A lot of hard work from our staff and students has gone into achieving this 12% increase. I am sure we will continue on this upward trajectory.”

Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines offered similar praise. “These increases show that teachers, administrators, counselors, parents and others at L.A. Unified are working together to improve our children’s education. I expect the numbers to keep rising until we reach our goal of 100 percent graduation.”

Compared to last year’s cohort graduation rate, all students measured by race rose by double-digit margins. Black students increased 17 percentage points to 71 percent. The remaining groups gained 12 percentages in graduation rates, boosting Latinos to 76 percent; whites to 84 percent and Asians to 87 percent.
 
Among other learners, the gains were smaller but still significant. Reclassified English Learners increased by 6 percentage points to 85 percent; economically disadvantaged students expanded by 11 percentage points to 78 percent; and students with disabilities grew 16 percentage points to 57 percent.
 
English learners—the only group to decline from a year earlier—decreased by two percentage points to 27 percent.

Researchers based the figures on tracking ninth-graders over a four-year period until graduation. L.A. Unified has improved its ability to verify if students have re-enrolled at other public schools using data collected from independent charter schools and from the California Department of Education’s longitudinal student level data system, reducing the number of students previously counted as dropouts.

 Students who transferred out and re-enrolled at other public schools in California were removed from the figures. In turn, those coming into the District were added to the cohort. The graduation rate reflected those receiving their diploma in four years.
 
“We’re proud of our students, proud of our schools and proud of the rising graduation rates,” Mr. Cortines said. “Even as we celebrate this achievement, students deserve our best effort. Combined with their endless potential, we will work with them to achieve even more.”
 
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Contact - Daryl Strickland (213) 241-6766