On September 18, the Georgia Department of Education announced that Georgia’s graduation rate rose slightly to an all-time high in 2019, reaching 82%. Gwinnett County Public Schools experienced a slight decrease in its four-year graduation rate this year, moving from 81.7% to 80.9% and continued improvement in its five-year graduation rate as it reached 84.27%.
In looking at this year’s four-year graduation rate in Gwinnett, 10 high schools experienced increases with the largest gains seen by Berkmar High School, Dacula High School, Gwinnett Online Campus, and Norcross High School. In addition, looking across the district, GCPS saw improved graduation rates with several subgroups of students with gains for Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, English Learners, and Students with Disabilities. Gwinnett schools with the highest graduation rates in 2019 were Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST), North Gwinnett High School, and Brookwood High School, followed closely by Grayson, Mill Creek, Parkview, Peachtree Ridge, and Lanier high schools. In all, 12 Gwinnett schools posted four-year graduation rates that surpassed the state average.
A review of the district’s five-year graduation rate, indicates GCPS continues to deliver on its commitment to ensuring students who need extra time and opportunity receive the support they need to successfully graduate. In 2018, the district’s four-year graduation rate was 81.7%. Since May of 2018, GCPS’ rate has increased to 84.27% as additional members of the Class of 2018 successfully met all graduation requirements.
Dr. Steve Flynt, the district’s associate superintendent for School Improvement and Operations, commends the work of Gwinnett’s high schools and the educators who work within them, saying, “Our schools are focused on helping all students graduate. While the vast majority of our students graduate within four years, we are committed to supporting those who need additional time. We want to graduate students, but not at the expense of not educating them to the levels they need to be successful in the future. “A diploma from a Gwinnett high school states that a student has not just met, but surpassed the graduation requirements of the state. It is not just about our students completing high school or our schools raising graduation rates. Our work and the programs offered in Gwinnett high schools are designed to help prepare our graduates for college and careers.”
Gwinnett’s Academy model in seven of its high schools are ensuring that students graduate with skills and certifications that put them ahead of the game in terms of career readiness. In addition, Gwinnett graduates are doing better than their peers nationally when it comes to completing college once they enroll. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, the six-year completion rate for students who started college in the fall of 2012 was 58.3% nationally. In Gwinnett that rate is 67%.
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. From the beginning of 9th grade, students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is subsequently “adjusted” by adding any students who transfer into the cohort during the next three years, and subtracting any students who transfer out. The five-year rate includes students who graduated after summer school or additional time in school beyond their cohort’s May graduation date. While all states use the same calculation, each state sets its own requirements for students to earn a regular high school diploma. Georgia has some of the highest requirements in the nation for students to graduate with a regular diploma with Gwinnett County requirements surpassing those of the state.