The Georgia Department of Education has released a new measure of student achievement for public high schools around the state. The measure is a four-year, high school graduation rate, known as the adjusted cohort graduation rate.
The new rate follows a group of pupils (cohorts) for four years, from the time they are freshmen, to when they graduate as seniors, according to state education officials. It is calculated using the number of students who graduate within four years of starting high school. It includes adjustments for student transfers.
The state’s overall cohort graduation rate was 67.4 percent for 2011, compared to that year’s traditional graduation rate of 80.9 percent.
Union Grove High had the highest cohort graduation at 91.91 percent for 2011, compared to its traditional graduation rate of 94.5 percent for the same year. The school of 1,585 pupils ranked in the top 10 high schools statewide with a high cohort graduation rate, according to Cindy George, the instructional assistant principal and Advanced Placement coordinator at Union Grove High. “We’re very proud of our graduation rate,” said George. “We’ve got a lot of room to grow, because our goal is to reach 100 [percent].”
George pointed to credit recovery courses offered through Georgia Virtual Schools. She also credited the school’s tutoring initiatives over the years. “I think each school in this system does a great job at providing support systems to help students achieve,” she said. “If a student takes longer than four years to graduate, there are courses there that they are not being successful in. With the support systems that we have in place, they are able to do that.”
The assistant principal said as many as 500 students, in grades nine through 12, attend the school’s midday tutoring sessions in the core subject areas of mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies.
The students are hand-picked by their graduation coach and counselors during the summer to register for the additional tutoring, according to George. Grouped in clusters of six-to-eight, students receive the added instruction from the school’s regular education teachers in 25-minute Instructional Focus (IF) periods, lasting between 11:20 a.m., and 1:40 p.m.
George said students may enter or exit the tutoring program mid-semester. The tutoring program, itself, is a requirement for those students selected to participate. “It is not by choice, and I think that’s the beauty of it,” she said.