State graduation rates change under new formula

Under new data released by the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) Tuesday morning, the State of Georgia has a shift in graduation rates from a new calculation method.

The State of Georgia has a graduation rate of 67.44% while local schools fared differently. The table below created from data gathered from the state and district report and the school-level report issued by the GADOE.

Atkinson County
Atkinson County High School 77.68%

Baker County
Baker County K-12 41.39%

Ben Hill County
Fitzgerald High School 64.93%

Berrien County
Berrien High School 78.89%

Calhoun County
Calhoun County Middle/High School 61.90%

Coffee County
Coffee County High School 69.08%

Colquitt County
Colquitt County High School 75.88%

Cook County
Cook County 77.73%

Crisp County
Crisp County High School 59.12%

Dougherty County:
Albany High School 54.46%
Monroe High School 47.42%
Dougherty High School 48.83%
Westover High School 65.44%

Irwin County
Irwin County High School 55.86%

Lee County
Lee County High School 66.29%

Mitchell County
Mitchell County High School 56.86%

Terrell County
Terrell High School 76.60%

Tift County
Tift County High School 76.14%

Turner County
Turner County High School 82.83%

Worth County
Worth County High School 65.89%

Data Source:
Georgia Dept. of Education

According to Renee Bridges, Dougherty County School System Testing Coordinator, the new calculation includes fifth year seniors, and beginning in 2012 it will include summer graduates in the graduation rate calculation whereas the current method does not. The biggest change, she says, is that when parents withdraw a student from the system to transfer to another system, if the student is not accounted for at that new system it counts as a dropout in the previous school system.

From a press release issued by the Georgia Department of Education, State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge says that "the new formula provides a more accurate, uniform look at how many students we are graduating from high school." He also added that "I believe that in order to tackle a problem you have to have honest and accurate data. We will be able to use this new data as a baseline to see how our important initiatives are impacting graduation rates in the future. We've known for some time and communicated that this new formula would show a lower graduation rate than the rate under the previous formula; however, regardless of calculation formula, the state has significantly raised graduation rates over the last several years, but there is still much work to do."

The release also clarifies how the new calculation is different from the state's current method of calculation. The new "four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate" defines the cohort based on when a student first becomes a freshman. The rate is calculated using the number of students who graduate within four years and includes adjustments for student transfers. In contrast, Georgia's current graduation rate calculation defines the cohort upon graduation, which may include students who take more than four years to graduate from high school. Over the past five years, the state's traditional graduation rate has gradually increased, rising from 70.8 percent in 2006 to 80.9 percent in 2011.

To read the release in it's entirety along with data on the state's graduation rates, visit the Georgia Department of Education .

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