Polk grad­u­a­tion rates down amid pol­icy changes for Class of 2018

♦ State sees high­est rate ever as six-year in­crease boosts av­er­age to 81.6 per­cent

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Kevin Myrick [email protected]­stan­dard­jour­nal.net

Grad­u­a­tion rates took a slight dip due to changes from year to year in test­ing poli­cies, and sits sys­tem-wide right at 80.5 per­cent for the Class of 2018.

The state sent out the fig­ures last week along with all other high schools across Geor­gia, and lo­cally the two schools only went down over­all by more than a per­cent­age point, the mean av­er­age from 2015 to now re­mains about the same for Cedar­town and Rock­mart’s grad­u­a­tion rate.

The Class of 2018 com­bined grad­u­ated the 80.5 per­cent of stu­dents who en­rolled – 429 se­niors re­ceived diplo­mas back in late May out of the 533 stu­dents over­all who were in the class.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Lau­rie Atkins said the de­crease was a re­sult of changes to what is and isn’t al­lowed for stu­dents aca­dem­i­cally when they pre­pare to fin­ish their ed­u­ca­tion in Polk County.

“We have ex­pe­ri­enced a slight drop in the grad­u­a­tion rate from 2017 to 2018,” Atkins ex­plained in a brief state­ment. “The 1.1 per­cent drop was ex­pected due to our high schools dili­gently work­ing to in­crease the rigor, as well as ad­her­ing to the new retest pol­icy.”

Last year, the rate sat at 82.3 per­cent. The rate in 2016 was 81.4 per­cent, and in 2015 81.1 per­cent.

Polk County over­all grad­u­a­tion rate matches up closely with the state, which in the past years has seen the statewide av­er­age jump 11 per­cent­age points from 2012 to this past class.

The Class of 2012 statewide only saw 69.7 per­cent of se­niors who started their fi­nal year ac­tu­ally re­ceive diplo­mas, and steadily in­creased from the low 70 per­centiles to close to 80 per­cent in past years.

For the first time in at least the past three years, the state av­er­age is higher than the grad­u­a­tion rate in Polk County. The state sits at 81.6 per­cent, the high­est it has ever been be­fore.

An ex­pla­na­tion around the num­bers is re­quired for a full sense of what the rates re­ally mean. Polk County’s grad­u­a­tion rate – the 429 to­tal se­niors in the class of 2018 who got their diplo­mas out of the 533 who en­tered the year that landed at 80.5 per­cent – doesn’t mean that those re­main­ing 104 stu­dents won’t have a chance to fin­ish their ed­u­ca­tion.

It’s just they aren’t counted among this year’s rate, or might in­stead show up as part of the num­ber of stu­dents who com­plete a GED pro­gram in­stead. Pro­grams too like the newly formed Grad­u­ate Polk Stu­dent Suc­cess Cen­ter are meant to en­sure those who aren’t be­ing counted among grad­u­ates still have op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Al­ready, as re­ported on Page A1 of this week’s edi­tion, Grad­u­ate Polk gave two stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to fin­ish their course­work and get a diploma.

It is also im­por­tant to not try and com­pare one sys­tem to the next. For in­stance, in Rome and Floyd County their schools have rates up in the high 90 per­centile for both sys­tems.

How­ever they have a larger pop­u­la­tion, and their stu­dents have ac­cess to dif­fer­ent pro­grams to com­plete their ed­u­ca­tion. Pep­perell’s grad­u­at­ing class of 190 that started out as 194 stu­dent is a much smaller size than 238 Rock­mart High School started out with, and the 194 that grad­u­ated.

Or the 235 who grad­u­ated at Cedar­town High School com­pared to the 298 who started the year, which is smaller than the 420 stu­dents in the se­nior class at Rome High School who started the year, and the 380 who com­pleted those stud­ies.

Ad­di­tion­ally, as Atkins has pointed out in pre­vi­ous com­ments, Polk School Dis­trict’s goal isn’t just to in­crease data points but to ed­u­cate the whole of a child to pre­pare them for the world.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.