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Madison County’s graduation rate continues to rise.

The 2020 rate is 95.1 percent, up from 94.64 percent in 2019. There were 291 graduates in a class of 306.

Superintendent Michael Williams said the graduation rate is a tremendous accomplishment.

“It is a testament to the hard work and effort of our students, teachers and community,” said Williams. “It takes everyone, but I specifically want to thank our high school teachers for their work and dedication. I am extremely proud of this accomplishment.”

Williams noted that Madison County's graduation rate is 23rd out of 177 Georgia school systems.

Georgia's graduation rate increased again in 2020, rising to 83.8 percent – an all-time high since the state began using the adjusted cohort calculation now required by federal law, and up from 82 percent in 2019.

Georgia's graduation rate has increased by 14.1 percentage points since 2012, with steady increases each year, up from 69.7 percent in 2012 to 83.8 percent this year.

In 2020, 105 Georgia school districts and 230 schools recorded graduation rates at or above 90 percent. Twenty-nine districts and 89 schools recorded rates at or above 95 percent.

“I'm very proud today of the class of 2020," State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “These students were faced with difficulties none of us could have imagined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have shown over and over again -- in ACT and SAT results, in their personal accomplishments, and now in this graduation rate – that they were able to rise above.”

Waiver for students with significant cognitive disabilities

Part of this year's increase in graduation rate can be attributed to a waiver GaDOE received from the U.S. Department of Education in 2019. Beginning with this cohort of students (2020 graduates), the waiver allows the state to count students with the most significant cognitive disabilities – those assessed with the Georgia Alternate Assessment, approximately one percent of students overall – in the four-year graduation rate the year they graduate, even if that is more than four years after they begin high school. To be counted, the student's graduation still must fall within the window for which they are guaranteed a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

In Georgia, students are guaranteed FAPE through the age of 22. This change ensures schools are not penalized for continuing to educate students with the most significant cognitive disabilities within that window, knowing they may need additional time to master skills before graduating.

In 2020, this change allowed for the cohort of approximately 1,000 students to be reassigned. This accounts for only a portion of the increase – if those students' cohort had not been reassigned, the graduation rate would have increased by 1.09 percentage points, as opposed to 1.80.


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