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Friday, January 28, 2011 - 4:42am

Grad Rates Likely To Drop

The state’s new schools superintendent says a new formula for calculating graduation rates likely will mean Georgia’s will drop significantly. That's what John Barge told a joint education committee of state lawmakers this week.

Barge says Georgia’s current 80 percent grad rate will likely go down at least 10 points. That’s because a new federally-mandated formula will look at a wider scope of a student’s history in high school.

Tim Callahan with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators says this will be a better read of how students are doing:

“What they were doing before was looking at seniors who graduate in a given school year. A lot of dropouts drop out long before their senior year, so they really weren’t accounting for people who fell by the wayside in grades 9, 10, and 11.”

Superintendent John Barge also told lawmakers another dip in the grad rate is likely next year as students adjust to the tougher math curriculum.

Tim Callahan with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators says Barge is doing the right thing in proposing districts have flexibility in teaching math subjects either in the new integrated way, or traditionally.

“They’re still not out of the woods yet, because of the fact that as students transfer from one system to another during the school year, they may find two different methods of math instruction they’ll run into. But I think he’s doing the best he can given the situation he’s found himself in.”

Callahan says the state dropped the ball early by not involving more teachers directly into the math revision process.