The state will release the Georgia high school graduation rate tomorrow based on a new federal formula considered a more accurate reflection of what is happening. The new “cohort” formula also will enable us to compare states, something we could not do when each state had its own methods of figuring out graduates and dropouts.
Georgia’s authentic graduation rate is open to debate. Independent research has placed it as low as 58 percent, although the state DOE places it above 80 percent.
Georgia has been using the National Center for Education Statistics “leaver rate,” which defines a graduate as a student who leaves high school with a regular diploma in four years. This does not include certificates of attendance or special education diplomas. About half the states use the leaver method, but critics contend the leaver methodology is flawed because it relies on incomplete dropout data.
The cohort rate takes the number of students who graduate in four years with a