Number of High School Graduates Rises in Georgia

Georgia’s 2015 high school graduation rate rose significantly, from 72.5 percent in 2014 to 78.8 percent in 2015. This represents the fourth straight increase in the state’s graduation rate.

“The 2015 graduation rate shows that our schools are working harder and smarter than ever to ensure our students receive their diploma, something that affords them the opportunity to move on to postsecondary education, the military, or directly into a meaningful career,” said State School Superintendent Richard Woods. “I expect we will continue to see the graduation rate increase as we provide more personalized graduation plans with multiple paths to graduation.”

“In today’s highly competitive workforce, a high school diploma is necessary to succeed in a growing and changing economy,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “Our state benefits as more qualified Georgians graduate high school and have the opportunity to pursue postsecondary credentials and careers. While there is more work to be done, I am encouraged by our state’s progress as we continue to work together to provide Georgia’s students with a high-quality education.”

This is the fifth year Georgia has calculated the graduation rate using the adjusted cohort rate, which is now required by the U.S. Department of Education. The four-year adjusted cohort graduation 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 student transfers. In 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.

This is the first class not required to take the Georgia High School Graduation Test in order to receive a regular diploma, as Georgia moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach to graduation.

There is evidence that focusing less on testing, and more on career education and personalized paths to graduation, opens up opportunities for students. The graduation rate for students who complete a Career Pathway is much higher—at 89 percent—than the rate for students who do not.

Moving forward, the GaDOE will continue to focus on personalized learning rather than a standardized approach—including Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) and core credit flexibility, including the new flexibility that allows students to receive a math, science, or foreign language credit for a computer programming course.

The agency is also working to improve the graduation rate for students with disabilities through a statewide systemic improvement plan, which establishes a network of regional support to support local districts in implementing interventions provided by the National Dropout Prevention Center.

All states now calculate the graduation rate using the same formula, but each state still sets its own requirements for students to earn a diploma. Georgia still has some of the highest requirements in the nation for students to graduate with a regular diploma.


Georgia’s Graduation Rates:

2015 – 78.8 percent

2014 – 72.5 percent

2013 – 71.8 percent

2012 – 69.7 percent

2011 – 67.4 percent


2015 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate—State District School


2014 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate—State District School



Matt Cardoza

GaDOE Communications Office



Lynn Peisner

Get Georgia Reading Communications Associate



Follow us on Twitter and Facebook