Valdosta City School District

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Graduation Rate Clarification

Letter to the Editor dated August 16, 2016
Valdosta High School and the administration of Valdosta City Schools are extremely proud of the work achieved thus far in making positive gains in academic data, closing achievement gaps and working to increase our graduation rate. 

Calculating graduation rates unfortunately is not a simple formula.  While we would love to be able to simply take the number of eligible seniors in the Class of 2016 and divide that by the total number of seniors who receive diplomas, it is not quite that easy to calculate the “official” graduation rate as determined by the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) for all public schools in Georgia. 

In 2005, the National Governors’ Association recommended that all states adopt and begin taking steps to implement a standard four-year rate. Beginning in 2012, Georgia started using the 4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate. The 4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate defines the cohort when the student first enters high school as a freshman. The 4-Year Cohort Rate is determined based on the number of students who graduate within four years.  To determine the graduation rate for the class of 2016, the number of cohort members who earned a regular high school diploma by the end of the 2015-16 school year will be divided by the number of first-time 9th graders in the fall of 2012 (starting cohort) plus students who transfer in, minus students who transfer out, emigrate or pass away during school years 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. In addition, any eligible summer graduates are also included in the 4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate calculation. 

The actual 4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate will not be released by the GADOE until later this fall; however, we wanted to make sure the public is aware of the anticipated difference between the VDT graduation rate of 97% and the official graduation rate calculation that will be reported by GADOE. While we have improved our graduation rate tremendously over the past five years from 54.7% to 77.77%, a gain of 23 points, we will never give up on ensuring success and increasing the high school graduation rate for each and every student in Valdosta City Schools.                                            

Dr. William “Todd” Cason                                                       Dr. Janice Richardson
Superintendent, Valdosta City Schools                                  Principal, Valdosta High School