Georgia’s high school graduation rate has increased the past few years. But new data from the National Center for Education Statistics show the state’s high school dropout rate is above the national average.
It’s important to note these two numbers do not have an inverse relationship. For example, Georgia’s high school graduation rate for 2013 was about 72 percent. That did not mean its dropout rate that year was 28 percent.
“In 2013, among all 16-24 year olds in Georgia, 8.7 percent did not have a high school credential,” says Joel McFarland, a statistician with the NCES who co-authored the report.
The national rate was 6.8 percent. McFarland says most graduation rates cover a four-year period. Students who take longer to finish aren’t counted in the numbers.
“Those students aren’t going to be counted as dropouts, but they’re also not going to be counted as on-time graduates,” he explains.
The report also found gaps between demographic groups. Fewer white students dropped out than either black or Latino students, according to the report.
It’s hard say whether Georgia’s dropout rate is improving. This is the first year NCES has published high school dropout rates for states.
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