Graduation rate hits four-year high

Published 8:27 pm Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bainbridge High School’s 2014 graduation rate was at a four-year high, according to recent data from the Georgia Department of Education.
“We are really, really glad that our graduation rate is the highest that it’s been in four years: 73.7 percent,” said Dr. Fred Rayfield, Decatur County School System superintendent, at last week’s Board of Education work session. “That is above the state average. The state average this year is 72.5 percent.”
The system also saw an increase in the black, economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities subgroups, compared to the 2013 data. The Hispanic subgroup graduation rate was comparable to that of 2013, only increasing by half of a percentage point.
“That is credit to everyone at the high school and everybody throughout the system that worked on any part of that,” Rayfield said. “That was not an easy task to move those numbers that significantly.”
Assistant Superintendent Dr. April Aldridge expects to see the rate continue to increase due to the dedication of the system and increases in middle school test scores.
“That paired with that we know we had some significant gains in seventh and eighth grade in math and CRCT last year, we anticipate that will translate to moving that pendulum even more in the right direction,” Aldridge said.
The white subgroup saw the only reported drop, decreasing by seven percentage points from 82.4 percent in 2013 to 75.4 percent in 2014.
The overall rate is the highest the system has reported since the state switched to a new formula to calculate the graduation rates four years ago. Known as the adjusted cohort rate, the rate defines the cohort based on when a student first becomes a freshman. It is calculated using the number of students who graduate within four years and includes adjustments for transfer students, according to the Georgia Department of Education.
“While all states now calculate the graduation rate using the same formula, what each state requires to earn a diploma varies dramatically across the country,” State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said in a statement. “Georgia has one of the highest sets of standards in the country for students, so our graduation rate typically doesn’t look very good when compared to the nation — but it’s simply not an apples-to-apples comparison. What we’re ultimately concerned about in Georgia is that more and more students earn a high school diploma, and we’re seeing that happen each year.”
The statewide high school graduation rate increased in 2014 for the third straight year.

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