The percentage of California high school seniors who received diplomas last year increased slightly over the graduation rate for 2000.
The class of 2001 started the ninth grade in 1997 with just over 458,000 students. Four years later, the class had about 316,000 members who received diplomas.
That translates to an estimated statewide graduation rate of 68.9 percent, up from 68.7 percent the previous year.
State Department of Education officials say the figures are an estimate because they do not take into account students who enter or leave the state during their high school years.
Last year about 11 percent of students who would have been seniors had dropped out of school, down from 11.1 percent the previous year.
Donna Rothenbaum, an education programs consultant for the department, says the dropout and graduate rates do not account for all students.
She says some of the students who did not graduate “did indeed drop out” but others move into different programs before getting a high school diploma.