No surprise here.
Under the new, more accurate method of measuring, Georgia’s high school graduation rate dropped 12.6 points to 67.4 percent. No one believed it was ever the 80-plus rate that the state had been reporting for the last few years. In fact, official announcements of the rate would often be accompanied by disclaimers that regardless of what the rate was or wasn’t, the important issue was whether it was increasing over time.
At a media conference last year, several lawmakers including Senate Ed chairman Fran Millar of DeKalb expressed certainty that the rate would fall under the new criteria.
You can read the state’s release on the new grad rate here, which also contains links to district and school-level data at the bottom.
You can read how the new rate was calculated in this DOE primer, which is quite thorough.
But it’s also less than the tumble that some predicted would follow a new federal requirement that eliminates a hodge-podge of state formulas in favor of a single — and what most agree is a more accurate — method of calculating graduation rates.
In some states, the new method is yielding rates that are 20 percentage points lower than states previously reported. In February 2010, state School Superintendent John Barge warned that Georgia’s graduation rate could fall to 64 percent.
Barge announced the new graduation rate Tuesday with little fanfare.
“The new formula provides a more accurate, uniform look at how many students we are graduating from high school who are college and career ready,” Barge said in a prepared statement issued at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
“I believe that in order to tackle a problem you have to have honest and accurate data,” he said. “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.”
The superintendent went on to say that, regardless of the method of calculation, Georgia’s graduation rates have increased significantly over the last several years. “But there is still much work to do,” he added.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog