This increase also applies to the Griffin-Spalding County School System, where the graduation rate has increased from 56 percent in the 2004-05 school year to 68.3 percent in 2008-09.
To High School Education Curriculum Director Laura Youmans, this improvement is no coincidence.
“We began to use data to analyze what students need to do pass the high school test,” she said, naming that as one reason for the increase in local graduation rates.
Another reason is the provision of additional support, such as study classes, remediate classes and advisement classes for high school students.
“We’ve done a lot of focus work,” said Youmans.
This includes establishing a credit recovery program, which offers students who failed a class an opportunity to retake that class before or after school, so they won’t lose time on their path to graduation.
What’s more, high school students now take the Benchmark Georgia High School Graduation Test, which is a mock test prior to the actual test the state of Georgia provides. This helps the school system identify students who may be struggling, so that they can be given extra help.
Youmans pointed out that a graduation rate of 68.3 percent does not mean that the remaining 31.7 percent are drop-outs. Only those who complete high school in four years and pass all parts of the high school test count toward the graduation rate.
The school system’s graduation rate goal for the current school year is 75 percent.