The state’s graduation rate for 2011 took a significant decline to 67 from 80 percent it was reported this week, as the state Department of Education applied a new federally mandated formula for calculating it.
Local high schools in the DeKalb County system followed the declining trend. Dunwoody High School dipped to 81 percent from nearly 88 percent. Chamblee High School, a charter school that draws students from across the county, went to 82 percent from 88 percent.
Click here for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's searchable database of the Department of Education’s newly calculated graduation rates for the state's high schools. Attached to this article is a PDF from the Department of Education showing the higher graduation rates under the old formula.
State education officials said that the new formula is a more standardized look at graduation rates.
"The new formula provides a more accurate, uniform look at how many students we are graduating from high school," State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said in a press release.
The new data has a broad political component. The state’s 80 percent graduation rate was touted as a reason for businesses to locate to the state, according to the AJC’s article. The new graduation rates have Georgia trailing some of its neighboring Southern states.
The figures were released this week after months of preparing state officials for the drop, according to an Associated Press story.
The new formula puts an emphasis in using numbers that reflected how many of the state’s students graduated high school in four years. The formula also requires the state to account for dropouts more stringently than before.