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Georgia’s graduation rate increases for sixth straight year, tops 80 percent

50 school districts’ rates top 90 percent 

MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office, 404-463-4246,

School & district results: Excel | PDF

September 27, 2017 – Georgia’s high school graduation rate has increased for the fifth straight year, from 79.4 percent in 2016 to 80.6 percent in 2017.

This is the first year Georgia’s graduation rate has risen above 80 percent using the adjusted cohort calculation now required by federal law. Fifty Georgia school districts recorded 2017 graduation rates at or above 90 percent.

The graduation rate continues to rise as Georgia’s schools and districts increase students’ access to unique, personalized learning opportunities that keep students engaged – including Career Pathways, dual enrollment, AP and IB programs, work-based learning, and internships. Local districts and schools are utilizing data more effectively to identify students’ individual learning needs; there is increased emphasis on a balanced curriculum that supports the whole child and a positive school climate that allows students to learn in a safe, supportive environment.

“It’s wonderful to see Georgia’s graduation rate continue to rise – and rise above 80 percent this year – because we’re not just talking about data points,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We’re talking about individual students who are moving on, ready and prepared, to their next phase of life. Georgia’s teachers, districts, and schools are personalizing education for each individual student, making sure those students are motivated and encouraged to stay in the classroom because they’re engaged in their learning, because they see how their education connects with their future goals. I’m thrilled to see 80.6 percent of our students graduating, but we can’t stay here at 80.6 – we need to ensure opportunity for every single student in the state of Georgia. I’m confident we’re on our way and will reach that goal.”  

Georgia calculates an adjusted cohort graduation rate as required by federal law. This is the first time Georgia’s state graduation rate has risen above 80 percent using the adjusted cohort calculation.

The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate is the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class. From the beginning of ninth grade, students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is subsequently “adjusted” by adding any students who transfer into the cohort during the next three years, and subtracting any students who transfer out.

While all states use the same calculation, each state sets its own requirements for students to earn a regular high school diploma. Georgia has some of the highest requirements in the nation for students to graduate with a regular diploma.

Georgia Graduation Rates – 2012 to 2017  

2017 – 80.6 percent

2016 – 79.4 percent

2015 – 79.0 percent

2014 – 72.6 percent

2013 – 71.8 percent

2012 – 69.7 percent