Rockdale County Public Schools' graduation rate jumped 5.8 percentage points to 72 percent, which is above the state average, according to the new figures released by the Georgia Department of Education for the 2012-2013 four year graduation rate. The state average is 69.72 percent.
Rockdale County High School had a graduation rate of 74.01 percent, followed by Heritage at 73.93 percent and Salem at 69.3 percent.
"We are extremely pleased to see such a significant increase," said Superintendent Richard Autry. "While we celebrate this increase in four-year graduates, we realize that we have a long way to go to reach our goal of 100 percent of our students earning their high school diploma."
"It is important to note that we also expect all of our students to acquire industry certification and/or college credit necessary to possess an advantage in their post-secondary endeavors. We always strive to have students accomplish this in the traditional four-year span; however, we are committed to graduating every child even if extended time or support is necessary," he said. "I commend the work of our high school administration, faculty and staff to keep students focused and on track for graduation."
This is the second year Georgia has calculated the graduation rate using a new formula - known as the adjusted cohort rate - as required by the U.S. Department of Education. The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate defines the cohort based on when a student first becomes a freshman. The rate is calculated using the number of students who graduate within four years and includes adjustments for student transfers.
Previously, Georgia's former graduation rate calculation defined the cohort upon graduation, which may have included students who took more than four years to graduate from high school.
Based on an estimated cohort graduation rate of 58.6 percent in 2009, the rate of students getting diplomas has risen by 11 percentage points since 2009. The cohort rate was applied to 2009's graduating class to help create a trend line, even though the state used a different calculation then.
The U.S. Department of Education requires all 50 states to use the cohort rate to calculate graduates.