The Union Recorder

December 16, 2013

BHS graduation rate climbs by 2 percent

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin High School’s 2013 graduation rate increased by 2 percent compared to the previous year — from 62.8 percent in 2012 to 64.8 percent in 2013, according to results released this week.

“Since there was a change in the calculations, we’re excited we’re continuing to improve and increase the graduation rate,” said Dr. Jessica Swain, principal of Baldwin High School. “We will continue to look forward to continued growth in our graduation rate. We will continue to evaluate our programs we have here and our practices in terms of our instruction so we get the performance we want.”

Earlier this week, state officials released the statewide public high school graduation rates which increased in Georgia by nearly 2 percentage points over the previous year — from 69.7 percent in 2012 to 71.5 percent in 2013 — and more than 4 percentage points from 2011 (67.5 percent).

“We want every student here to have the opportunity to graduate,” Swain said. “Any improvement is welcomed and embraced, but we look at it as a step to the top.”

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. This is the third year Georgia has calculated the graduation rate using the adjusted cohort rate formula.

In contrast, 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.

The U.S. Department of Education requires all 50 states to use the cohort rate to calculate graduates.

“We continue to work with students to make sure they stay on task to be successful as possible,” Swain said. “It was a well-rounded by everyone for the sole purpose of making sure students are successful, and that has helped us increase our graduation rate.”

The current senior class is the last group required to take and pass content areas of the graduation test or pass an equivalent content area on the End-of-Course Tests. 

In order earn a high school diploma next year, seniors must pass all of their courses and the writing portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test. Students are not required to pass the EOCT.

“We’re working diligently as possible to make sure students pass and meet the requirements,” Swain said. “The [EOCT] will still be administered and will be the final exam for certain subjects. Our ultimate goal is for students to pass the course and pass the tests.”

Starting this school year, a new 50-minute instructional focus period is implemented during the regular school day for students in need of remediation or assistance in particular subject areas. Students in grades 9 through 12 are given the opportunity to focus on their individual learning needs as a way to boost student achievement, decrease failures and promote graduation on time.

“The instructional focus period does not impact the 2012-2013 graduation rate,” Swain said. “Our goal is to see this as another piece that’s going to help our students move forward and be successful. Hopefully it will be one of the many things that contribute to next year’s graduation rate. We’re trying to reach 100 percent.”

For more information about the cohort high school graduation rate, visit www.doe.k12.ga.us.