Georgia graduation rates up 3rd year in a row

ATLANTA -- High school graduation rates are up slightly in Georgia to 72.5%. Last year, the rate was 71.5%. The numbers were released by the Georgia Department of Education Thursday morning.

It's up for the third consecutive year. In a press release from State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge, he called the numbers "something to celebrate". Four-year graduation rates are up 5.1% since 2011.

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"When we see the graduation rate consistently trending upward and when we see a greater percentage of our students graduating from our public high schools, we are talking about individual students and individual dreams. We're talking about students whose options and futures expanded when they obtained a high-school diploma. So we are celebrating their victories, and turning toward the future, and the work necessary to make those dreams a reality for an even higher percentage of students," Barge's statement said.

It's the fourth year all states have been required to use a new formula required by the U.S. Department of Education.

2012 | New federally mandated calculation lowers Georgia graduation rate
2013 | Georgia graduation rate climbs to 71.5%

"While all states now calculate the graduation rate using the same formula, what each state requires to earn a diploma varies dramatically across the country," Superintendent Barge said. "Georgia has one of the highest sets of standards in the country for students, so our graduation rate typically doesn't look very good when compared to the nation -- but it's simply not an apples-to-apples comparison. What we're ultimately concerned about in Georgia is that more and more students earn a high school diploma, and we're seeing that happen each year."

Fulton County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa said that making sure 9th grade students pass Algebra and English 1 is a key step towards graduation.

"The research is clear: kids don't pass those two courses in 9th grade, the likelihood of them graduating diminishes significantly," said Avossa.

Fulton County Schools went up about 3 percent overall in graduation rates.

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