ATLANTA – Georgia’s high-school graduation rate remained steady this year despite the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

The Peach State posted a graduation rate of 83.7% for the 2020-2021 school term, down slightly from the 83.8% rate achieved during the previous term, the Georgia Department of Education reported Thursday.

COVID-19 forced school districts to make a series of adjustments during the last school year, with some resorting to virtual instruction for long periods but others able to get students back into their classrooms by exercising safety precautions included mask wearing and social distancing.

Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods Credit: Beau Evans/Capitol Beat

“Given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am pleased to see Georgia’s graduation rate holding steady,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said.

“Combined with the class of 2021’s increases in ACT and SAT scores, this is an encouraging indicator about the work being done in public schools. Teachers and students have continued to succeed in the face of challenging circumstances.”

High-school graduation rates have risen steadily during the past decade. This year’s rate marked an increase of 14% over the class of 2012.

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. The “adjusted cohort” is based on the number of students who enter 9th grade for the first time adjusted by students who enter or leave those class levels over the next three years. (Full explanation from the Georgia Department of Education)

Meanwhile, two Georgia high schools – Berrien Academy Performance Learning Center and Clarkston High School – have been taken off a federal list of schools targeted for low graduation rates.

“An exit from CSI (Comprehensive Support and Improvement) status means a school has done hard work that produced measurable improvements for their students,” Woods said.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams/Capitol Beat

Dave Williams is bureau chief for Capitol Beat News Service, a service of the Georgia Press Education Foundation.