Georgia’s Graduation Rate Continues to Rise

Georgia’s high school graduation rate increased again in 2019, rising to 82 percent—an all-time high since the state began using the adjusted cohort calculation now required by federal law.

Georgia’s graduation rate has increased by 12 percentage points since 2012, with steady increases each year.

In 2019, 71 Georgia school districts recorded graduation rates at or above 90 percent. Twenty-four districts recorded rates at or above 95 percent.

“I’m proud today of Georgia’s teachers and students, who are doing the on-the-groundwork that leads to increases in our graduation rate and other indicators—including NAEP and Georgia Milestones scores,” said State School Superintendent Richard Woods. “Moving forward, we must continue to focus on offering a relevant education and preparing every child for their future—not a one-size-fits-all system that sends every student in the same direction, but a tailored and personalized pathway based on a student’s academic and career interests and future goals.”

How Georgia calculates its graduation rate
Georgia calculates a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate as required by federal law. This rate is the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma, divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class.

Adjusted Cohort Rate Definition
From the beginning of ninth grade, students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is subsequently adjusted by adding any students who transfer into the cohort during the next three years and subtracting any students who transfer out.

Georgia Graduation Rates—2012 to 2019
2019—82.0 percent
2018—81.6 percent
2017—80.6 percent
2016—79.4 percent
2015—79.0 percent
2014—72.6 percent
2013—71.8 percent
2012—69.7 percent

Note regarding federal waiver
As announced in July 2019, Georgia is seeking flexibility through an amendment to its state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to develop a state-defined alternate diploma for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed using the alternate assessment aligned to alternate academic achievement standards.

Because in Georgia the regular diploma is considered a property right, the state is constrained from offering the new Alternate Diploma until the 2020-2021 school year, when a new cohort of ninth-grade students begins. In addition to its requested ESSA amendment, Georgia has requested a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education so that it is not necessary to remove students assessed using the alternate assessment from the four-year cohort rate prior to adoption of the Alternate Diploma. While this waiver, which would apply to federal reporting of the graduation rate, is still pending, to maintain consistency in its public reporting Georgia is publishing the graduation rate including students assessed using the alternate assessment today.

School and district results: Excel | PDF

Meghan Frick
GaDOE Communications Director

Georgia Department of Education
We are educating Georgia’s future by graduating students who are ready to learn, ready to live, ready to lead.

“Students do not fit in a box and one size does not fit all. They need varied, creative learning opportunities that engage them in their learning and prepare them to learn, live and lead in the future.”
—Richard Woods, Georgia’s School Superintendent