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APS Class of 2023 Achieved All-Time High Graduation Rate

by Thomas Scott

Atlanta Public Schools is celebrating the graduating Class of 2023, which raised the bar and achieved the district’s all-time highest graduation rate.

That’s right! APS achieved an 86.6 percent graduation rate for cohort 2023, according to graduation data released today by the Georgia Department of Education. By achieving its all-time high graduation rate, APS also exceeded the state graduation rate of 84.4 percent by 2.2 percentage points.

“I am incredibly proud of the graduating Class of 2023,” APS Interim Superintendent Dr. Danielle Battle said. “We are simply elated to celebrate another historic accomplishment! Our students and staff have worked extremely hard to increase our graduation rate and for our results to surpass the state average is truly a testament to the tremendous efforts of everyone in Atlanta Public Schools. We plan to continue building on this momentum by amplifying the work we’re currently doing.”

A total of 2,812 students graduated on-time from APS in 2023. The percentage of students who graduated in 2023 is the highest recorded since 2012, when the state adopted the cohort graduation rate as required by federal law. This is an increase of 121 graduates from 2022. The class of 2023 included 3,247 students, 44 larger than the 2022 cohort. See Figure 1.

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

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Reaching the district’s highest graduation rate culminates four years of hard work for this class. This historic class also completed half of its high school career during a pandemic, which shows that our students, schools, and staff can achieve strong outcomes even amid adversity.

Let’s look at our schools.

Of the 16 schools with graduating classes, 11 achieved percentage-point gains compared to 2022. Douglass High School led the way with the largest increase from a traditional high school and achieved a 7.2-percentage-point gain. Other traditional schools achieving gains include Mays (+5.7), Midtown (+4.9), North Atlanta (+4.5), Atlanta Classical (+3.9), South Atlanta (+3.3), Carver STEAM (+2.1), Carver Early (+1.4), KIPP Collegiate (+0.9), Jackson High School (+0.4). See Figure 2

Figure 2: 2023 APS Graduation Rates and Change from 2022

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In addition, eight schools had graduation rates greater than 90%: Atlanta Classical Academy (100%), Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (100%), Drew Secondary (98.4%), North Atlanta (94.2%), BEST (93.8%), Carver Early (93.1%), KIPP Collegiate (93.0%), and Midtown (91.3%).

With APS reaching higher numbers of total students graduating, the district must take a harder look at improving these numbers across our diverse demographics.

Let’s take a look at some other results from the latest graduation rates:
• Graduation rates for Black students (84.7%) reached an all-time high with the 2023 cohort, while the rate for Hispanic students (82.3%) and White students (96.7%) were higher than the cohort 2022 rates. See Figure 3.
• Nearly 12 percentage points separated the graduation rates of Black students and White students. This is one percentage point lower than the cohort 2022 difference.
• Graduation rates for students with disabilities (76.2%) reached an all-time high with a four-percentage point increase over 2022.
• The 2023 graduation rate for English learners (65.7%) was lower than the 2022 graduation rate of 76.1%, a difference of 10.4 percentage points.
• Graduation rates for Economically Disadvantaged students (82.8%) reached an all-time high with a 2.5 percentage point increase over 2022.

Figure 3: APS Graduation Rates by Race

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“We recognize that gaps in achievement persist among our students, so we are continuing to implement strategies for increasing achievement across all student groups,” Dr. Battle said. “These strategies include cultivating a district of readers, shifting resources toward the classroom, operating with openness and collaboration, empowering our educators, and making a personal commitment to excellence. This formula, in conjunction with the availability of ongoing wraparound services, will not only increase student achievement but will benefit the whole child and will allow more to cross the finish line.”

Together, our entire team is responsible for these record-setting gains! Thank you for your ongoing commitment to Atlanta Public Schools.

Note: 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 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. Students who drop out remain in the four-year adjusted cohort.

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