Georgia’s high school graduation rate continued to climb in 2016 though the growth rate was slackening.
Nearly four out of five members of the class of 2016 graduated on time, according to preliminary data released by the Georgia Department of Education Tuesday.
The 79.2 percent rate is an increase of 0.4 percentage points from 2015, which itself was up more than 6 percentage points from the prior year.
The 2016 number is preliminary because of incomplete data from a few school districts. It’s based on a federal formula in effect since the class of 2011.
The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, as it is called, is calculated using the number of students who graduate within four years of starting high school. Prior to 2011, the rate included students who took longer than four years.
Because it is a national standard, it allows comparison between the states.
The increases come as Georgia has changed graduation test requirements and as many schools have increased the use of online classes in which many students earn credit without mastering the material. Georgia eliminated its High School Graduation Test starting with the class of 2015. Now high school students must take state tests in certain subjects, but they don't have to pass the tests to graduate.
In recent years, many districts too have paid more attention to tracking down students who leave school before graduation in an effort to keep them in school—and avoid labelling them as dropouts which would bring down graduation rates.
The rates for some of metro Atlanta’s biggest school districts:
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You can find information about your school, such as test scores, graduation rates and school climate rating at the Ultimate Atlanta School Guide.