This is the third year Georgia has calculated the graduation rate using the adjusted cohort rate formula.
The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate defines the cohort based on when a student first becomes a freshman and is calculated using the number of students who graduate within four years and includes adjustments for student transfers.
By contrast, Georgia’s former graduation rate calculation defined the cohort upon graduation, which may have included students who took more than four years to graduate from high school.
“Under a more rigorous calculation method, the trend still shows that the percentage of our high school students graduating increases year to year,” state School Superintendent John Barge said in a statement. “Despite the economic challenges our districts are facing, we have more high school students graduating today than we have had in several years, which is a testament to the hard work of our students and teachers. We must continue our progress to ensure all students cross the finish line, because without a high school diploma, their options are very limited.”
Fulton County more than doubled the state’s results by posting a 4.2 percent gain in a single year.
The news came on the heels of a successful State of the Schools event last week, when Superintendent Robert Avossa shared the district’s progress on its strategic plan.
The Fulton rate is 75.5 percent, compared to the 2012 graduation rate of 71.3 percent.
“Last year we set increasing the graduation rate as one of our strategic plan goals,” said Avossa in a statement, referring to the five-year strategic plan that aims to raise Fulton’s on-time graduation rate to 90 percent by 2017. “We knew that we could get there by increasing the rate by 3 to 5 percent each year over five years. But to have made so much progress in such a little time is exciting – I’m thrilled with this 4.2 percent gain.
“Our students, teachers, principals and parents have worked hard. They are taking the message to heart that Fulton County Schools is serious about improving academic achievement. But while this is promising, we have to continue it. We will need another four years of similar growth to meet our goals.”
Eleven Fulton high schools showed increases, but of particular note are the double-digit gains made by Langston Hughes and Westlake high schools.
Langston Hughes increased from 62 percent to 73.6 percent and Westlake increased from 63.5 percent to 76 percent.
Four other schools – Roswell High School, Creekside High School, McClarin High School and Tri-Cities High School – increased the graduation rate for all students by more than 5 percent.
Performance by student subgroups also showed significant increases.
The Black and Hispanic subgroups grew by 7 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively.
In addition, the Economically Disadvantaged subgroup grew by 5.9 percent and the English Language Learners subgroup grew by 3.9 percent.