11.10 APS Reaches All-Time Graduation Rate High of 80.3 Percent


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     

November 10, 2020

APS Reaches All-Time Graduation Rate High of 80.3 Percent


With cohort 2020, district also reports highest number of on-time graduates to date – 2,570 students – as graduation rate increases by 2.4 percentage points from last year.


ATLANTA — Atlanta Public Schools (APS) achieved an 80.3 percent graduation rate for cohort 2020, according to graduation data released today by the Georgia Department of Education. By achieving its all-time high graduation rate, APS has narrowed the gap with the state rate – 83.8% – by 0.6 percentage points to a gap of 3.5 percentage points.


More students – 2,570 of them – graduated on-time from APS in 2020 than any other year since 2012, when the state adopted the cohort graduation rate as required by federal law. This is an increase of 64 graduates from 2019. The 2020 cohort included 3,202 students, only 13 fewer than the 2019 cohort. See Figure 1.


Figure 1: APS Graduation Rates (Graduate Counts/Cohort Sizes)

 2020 Grad Rates

“I applaud the Class of 2020 for reaching this important milestone,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring. “Reaching the district’s highest graduation rate culminates four years of hard work for this class. In addition, they completed their final semester of high school during a pandemic, which shows that our students, schools, and staff can achieve strong outcomes even amid adversity.”


Of the 17 schools with graduating classes, eight achieved percentage-point gains compared to 2019. The largest increase was at Douglass High, which achieved a 12.9- percentage-point gain. Other schools achieving gains include Atlanta Classical Academy (+9.2), Mays High (+6.4), Crim High (+4.2), Drew Secondary (+1.6), Washington High (+1.3), North Atlanta High (+1.2), and Grady High (+0.5). See Figure 2.


Figure 2: 2020 APS Graduation Rates and Change from 2019

 2020 Grad Rates Change


In addition, six schools had graduation rates greater than 90 percent: Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (100%), Drew Secondary (98.2%), Atlanta Classical Academy (97.7%), North Atlanta High (92.3%), Carver Early College (91.6%), and Grady High (90.9%).



Among other results from the latest graduation rates:


  • Graduation rates for both White students (96.7%) and Hispanic students (82.8%) reached new highs with the 2020 cohort, while the rate for Black students (77.2%) was higher than the 2019 rate (75.5%) but slightly lower than the 2018 high of 78.2%. See Figure 3.
  • Nearly 20 percentage points separated the graduation rates of Black students and White students.
  • The 2020 graduation rate for students with disabilities increased by 8.0 percentage points over 2019 to reach an all-time high of 64.6%.
  • The graduation rate for English learners also reached a new high of 76.1%, a 6.4-percentage-point increase compared to 2019.


Figure 3: APS Graduation Rates by Race 4

2020 Grad Rates Race  


“With our renewed focus on equity as part of the district’s new five-year strategic plan, we plan to take a deeper dive into closing achievement gaps at the same time we improve graduation rates,” Superintendent Herring said. “To that end, we have created a new Center for Equity and Social Justice and hired a leading educator – Tauheedah Baker-Jones – to guide the work.”


Baker-Jones, the district’s new Chief Equity and Social Justice Officer, said: “We believe that achieving equity requires strategic decision-making to remedy opportunity and learning gaps and create a barrier-free environment, which enables all students to graduate ready for college, career, and life. Our new Center for Equity and Social Justice will engage our entire community in a collaborative effort to ensure that our students can achieve at high levels despite factors that may hinder them from reaching their full potential.”




Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate
Georgia has calculated an adjusted cohort graduation rate as required by federal law since 2012, and this calculation has not changed over this period. APS only reports the official state graduation rate. The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate is the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma 5 divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class. 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 four years and subtracting any students who transfer out.


About Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 52,000 students across 87 schools. The District is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 58 traditional schools, 18 charter schools, six partner schools, two citywide single-gender academies and three alternative programs. To learn more about Atlanta Public Schools, follow us on social media – Twitter (@apsupdate), Facebook (Atlanta Public Schools), and Instagram (apsupdate) – or visit us online at www.atlantapublicschools.us.