Troup County high schools’ overall 2013 graduation rate exceeded the state average, but the amount of four-year graduates dropped 2.8 percentage points from last year, according to recently released data.
New Georgia Department of Education standards break the information down into four-year and five-year graduation rates. The rates use cohort groups, comparing the students who begin as freshman together and how many are graduated four or five years later.
The average graduation rate for LaGrange, Troup and Callaway high schools was 72.6 percent for four-year graduates in 2013 and 77.9 percent for five-year graduates. The state’s average four-year rate was 71.5 percent and five-year rate was 71.6 percent. Last year, the school system had a 75.4 percent four-year rate and a 67.5 percent five-year rate.
The 2013 four-year cohort group of graduates reflects students who entered the ninth grade in 2009, while the five-year cohort reflects those who entered the ninth grade in 2008.
Individually, Callaway High School had a 72.1 percent four-year rate and 71.4 percent five-year rate; LaGrange High School had a 74.8 percent four-year rate and 82 percent five-year rate; and Troup High School had a 72.7 percent four-year rate and 78.9 percent five-year rate.
The state Department of Education introduced new curriculum standards and significant changes to assessment and accountability criteria in the 2012 school year, said Troup County schools Director of Public Relations Tina Duckett. The school system also was making cuts and changes – like closing Unity Elementary School, eliminating positions and decreasing program budgets – due to budget shortfalls and additional state mandates, but “school system students and staff were dedicated to improving achievement,” she said.
“Troup County students, parents, partners and staff diligently work together to achieve academic success,” said Troup County School System Superintendent Cole Pugh. “There is more work to be done, and we are committed to doing our part. We will continue to assess data and align instruction to meet state standards. Our goal is to help students graduate and reach their highest level of academic performance.”
School officials noted that even though the four-year rate was lower than last year, the amount of five-year graduates overall increased more than 10 percentage points.
“We are pleased to see that students are committed to completing high school, even if it takes them longer than the traditional four years,” stated Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Karen Cagle. “We know that not all students progress at the same rate. State and national consideration given to this population of students will result in more high school graduates; this is the ultimate goal.”
According to the Georgia Department of Education, momentum for all states to produce a comparable four-year graduation rate began in 2005 with the leadership of the National Governors Association. Governors of all 50 states made a commitment to a common method for calculating each state’s high school graduation rate by signing the Graduation Counts Compact.
The U.S. Department of Education requires all states to report comparable high school graduation rates using the new calculation method with the intent of having standard state-to-state graduation rate comparisons.