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RCPS 2021 graduation rate released, four out of five graduating on time
Graduation caps being thrown in the airConyers, Ga. – Rockdale County Public Schools’ (RCPS) graduation rate for the five-year cohort increased to 86.12 percent and the four-year cohort graduation rate, after two consecutive years of significant increases, decreased slightly to 82.13 percent for 2021, according to the Georgia Department of Education. The RCPS graduation rate for the four-year cohort was 84.6 percent and the five-year cohort was 85.5 percent in 2020. This means more than four out of five RCPS students are graduating on time and nearly nine out of 10 are graduating within five years.

The RCPS graduation rate has increased by more than 10 percentage points since 2012, when Georgia began calculating the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate as required by federal law.  

The state of Georgia average four-year cohort graduation rate decreased slightly but not significantly to 83.7 percent for 2021, compared to 83.8 percent in 2020.

“The 2020-2021 school year proved to be one of the most challenging school years in recent history due to the public health crisis,” said Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts. “Two-thirds of our students spent the entire school year learning remotely, and school districts all across the state and country saw some significant decreases in enrollment as a consequence of the pandemic. Despite these challenges, our Class of 2021 persevered and collectively achieved many accolades. These accolades include but are not limited to our SAT test-takers achieving the highest composite score since the new benchmarks released in 2017 and exceeding the national composite score, ACT test-takers posting our highest composite score to date of 20.8 and exceeding the national composite score, 2021 Advanced Placement Scholar recognition, Governor’s Honors Program recognition, and millions of dollars in scholarships to higher education institutions all across the country.”

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Sherri Freeman said, “While our four-year cohort graduation rate decreased slightly, we are proud of our students and the work of our faculty, staff, and administrators in navigating the unprecedented, complex circumstances of last school year. As a result of their collective efforts, the full impact of the pandemic on our four-year cohort graduation rate was averted, and we still managed to increase completion among our fifth-year students.”

According to the Georgia Department of Education, the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate is required by federal law. “Given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am pleased to see Georgia’s graduation rate holding steady,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Combined with the Class of 2021’s increases in ACT and SAT scores, this is an encouraging indicator about the work being done in public schools. Teachers and students have continued to succeed in the face of challenging circumstances. Of course, there is still work to do – we will continue our efforts to ensure every student sees the relevance of their high-school education and receives a diploma that directly prepares them for their future.”

How Georgia calculates its graduation rate:

•    The number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma, divided by
•    The number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class.

Adjusted Cohort Rate Definition: From the beginning of ninth grade, students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is subsequently adjusted by adding any students who transfer into the cohort during the next three years and subtracting any students who transfer out.