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​Georgia’s graduation rate continues to rise


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

School & district results: Excel | PDF

2018 results

September 18, 2019 – Georgia’s high school graduation rate increased again in 2019, rising to 82 percent – an all-time high since the state began using the adjusted cohort calculation now required by federal law.

Georgia’s graduation rate has increased by 12 percentage points since 2012, with steady increases each year.

In 2019, 71 Georgia school districts recorded graduation rates at or above 90 percent. Twenty-four districts recorded rates at or above 95 percent.

“I’m proud today of Georgia’s teachers and students, who are doing the on-the-ground work that leads to increases in our graduation rate and other indicators – including NAEP and Georgia Milestones scores,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Moving forward, we must continue to focus on offering a relevant education and preparing every child for their future – not a one-size-fits-all system that sends every student in the same direction, but a tailored and personalized pathway based on a student’s academic and career interests and future goals.”

How Georgia calculates its graduation rate

Georgia calculates a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate as required by federal law. This 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

Adjusted Cohort Rate Definition: 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.

Georgia Graduation Rates – 2012 to 2019

2019 – 82.0 percent

2018 – 81.6 percent

2017 – 80.6 percent

2016 – 79.4 percent

2015 – 79.0 percent

2014 – 72.6 percent

2013 – 71.8 percent

2012 – 69.7 percent

Note regarding federal waiver:

As announced in July 2019, Georgia is seeking flexibility through an amendment to its state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to develop a state-defined alternate diploma for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed using the alternate assessment aligned to alternate academic achievement standards.

Because in Georgia the regular diploma is considered a property right, the state is constrained from offering the new Alternate Diploma until the 2020-2021 school year, when a new cohort of ninth-grade students begins. In addition to its requested ESSA amendment, Georgia has requested a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education so that it is not necessary to remove students assessed using the alternate assessment from the four-year cohort rate prior to adoption of the Alternate Diploma.

While this waiver, which would apply to federal reporting of the graduation rate, is still pending, to maintain consistency in its public reporting Georgia is publishing the graduation rate including students assessed using the alternate assessment today.​