You may have heard that the graduation number was closer to 84 percent. It is, if you count students that graduate eventually.
But if you count the number of students that graduate within four years, the rate is much lower. This new 'formula' is how all school systems will begin reporting their stats going forward. It takes Georgia's overall graduation rate for 2011 down to 67.4 percent (from 80.9 percent in 2010), but should put school systems on a level field when it comes to measuring their success.
What surprises me is that this number has not received more attention. Maybe the reason is that the only thing that has changed is the calculation, not the number of students that graduate, but I believe that most people who have heard the 80 - 84 percent graduation rates assumed that it was for students who graduated in the normal four years.
What do you think? The school has known about this for a while, but you will still hear Gwinnett County School officials quoting the old rates.
Here are links to read the new graduation rates published in official publications. The first one is a pdf from the Spring 2012 Gwinnett Public School newsletter. The article, "State adjusts to new way of calculating graduation rates," appears on the third page:
The second one is from the Governor's Office of Student Achievement. It is a graph, and is a little harder to read, but it breaks the numbers down by race and other factors: