Georgia's rate for public school rose from 69.7 percent in 2012 to 71.5 percent in 2013, the department announced Wednesday. DeKalb County schools' graduation rate rose from 57.28 percent to 58.9 percent.
Locally, Lakeside High School's graduation rate increased from 65 percent in 2012 to 72.2 percent. Druid Hills High School's rate dropped slightly from 69 percent in 2012 to 67.7 percent.
The DeKalb County School District was trailed by Atlanta Public Schools and Clayton County for lowest graduation rate in the immediate metro Atlanta area. APS' graduation rate jumped significantly from under 51 percent in 2012 to 58.6 percent. Clayton schools had a rate of 55.8 percent.
The 2013 rate for other close-in counties: Cobb 76.5 percent. Fulton 75.5 percent and Gwinnett at 72.7 percent.
With a 93.9 percent graduation rate, Decatur City Schools scored the highest in metro Atlanta.
“Under a more rigorous calculation method, the trend still shows that the percentage of our high school students graduating increases year to year,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge in a statement. "Despite the economic challenges our districts are facing, we have more high school students graduating today than we ever have before, which is a testament to the hard work of our students and teachers. We must continue our progress to ensure all students cross the finish line, because without a high school diploma, their options are very limited.”
To clarify these statistics, the inverse of the graduation rate is not a drop-out rate.
The rates do not factor in students who take more than five years to graduate, who choose to receive a GED or join the military, move out of the district and do not send specific withdrawl/transfer documents to district staff, and those who receive a special education diploma.
It's the third year in which the state has implemented a more stringent formula to calculate rates. The cohort now starts when a student is a freshman, unlike the previous calculation that defined a cohort upon graduation and included students who took more than four years to graduate.
The U.S. Department of Education requires all 50 states to use the cohort rate to calculate graduates.
You can see 2013 graduation rates for all Georgia schools at the Georgia Department of Education website.
Patch editor Kristal Dixon contributed to this report.