Graduation rates for Orange County and the rest of the state climb for the fifth straight year

High school graduation rates for California and Orange County have increased for the fifth year in a row, with English-learners accounting for the biggest overall spikes in 2014, according to data released this week.

Statewide, 80.8 percent of those who started their high school careers in 2010-11 graduated as members of the class of 2014, representing an increase of 0.4 percent over the previous year’s cohort. It’s a trajectory that’s been trending upward since the class of 2010 posted a 74.7 percent grad rate.

shutterstock_241619527In Orange County, the news is even better. The group that started high school in 2010-11 posted a graduation rate of 88.6 percent in 2014 — up from 87.5 percent in 2013. That number has been climbing steadily since a more sophisticated tracking system was put in place about five years ago. By comparison, in 2010, 82.6 percent of the cohort graduated.

The Orange County Register has more on the county figures here.

Meanwhile, the California Department of Education reports that the graduation rates for most student groups also rose in 2014. For example, the state’s graduation rate among English-learners increased 2.2 percentage points to 65.3 percent. In Orange County, the graduation rate for English-learners jumped nearly 4 percentage points to 73.9 percent.

Among Hispanic or Latino students in California, the graduation rate was 76.4 percent, up 0.7 of a percentage point from the year before. Among the same population in Orange County, the rate was 83.3 percent in 2014.

“Our record high graduation rate is great news, especially since it is occurring at the same time we are raising academic standards,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said Tuesday in a news release. “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 most.”

Nevertheless, he cautioned that there’s more work to be done.

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

For more state data, including a breakdown of graduation rates, check out the California Department of Education’s website.