Atlanta’s high school graduation rate for the Class of 2016 showed no improvement, with most high schools graduating students at lower rates than the previous year.
Atlanta Public Schools’ overall 2016 graduation rate fell slightly, slipping .4 percentage points to 71.5 percent. That’s below the state average of about 79 percent.
At 11 of 20 high schools, Atlanta’s Class of 2016 graduated at lower rates than their predecessors, according to Georgia Department of Education data.
The schools with the largest decreases include South Atlanta School of Health and Medical Science, the School of the Arts at Carver and Washington High School. (The South Atlanta school has since been combined with other "small schools" at South Atlanta High School.)
Still, some of Atlanta's lowest performing schools saw significant improvements in their graduation rates. Douglass High School and BEST Academy, where less than two-thirds of the Class of 2015 graduated on time, saw double-digit gains this year.
Atlanta high schools with the highest graduation rates include Carver Early College High School; KIPP Atlanta Collegiate, a charter school; and Corretta Scott King Womens' Leadership Academy.
This year's drop comes a year after Atlanta saw a big jump in its graduation rate after the state eliminated the High School Graduation Test requirement. Starting with the Class of 2015, high school students must take state tests in certain subjects, but don't have to pass the tests to graduate.
Atlanta school superintendent Meria Carstarphen said she was pleased that the district largely maintained last year’s increase.
“That shows that our progress in graduating more students in APS is significant, real and sustainable. But we must move the graduation rate even higher in years to come by continuing to provide supports for our high schools and also by addressing the deficits in literacy and math that many of our students bring with them from lower grades,” she said in a written statement.
Atlanta high school 2016 graduation rates
Source: Georgia Department of Education. *Therrell High School's 2015 rate includes the schools of Engineering, Math, and Science; Health and Science; and Law, Government and Public Service.
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Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution