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High School graduation rates rise in Georgia amid pandemic

Posted at 11:19 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 23:19:36-05

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — Graduation rates are on the rise in Georgia, and the pandemic may have led to the good news.

Georgia saw a 14 percent increase in graduation rates in just eight years, with that number rising amid the pandemic.

People say students may do better with the multiple learning platforms implemented this year.

"The virtual is working well with her," said Hazel Johnson, whose granddaughter is a senior in Thomasville City Schools.

She says during the pandemic, she's done better without standardized testing.

"Testing you know a lot of people can't test as well," Johnson said.

This year all schools across the state eliminated standardized tests like the end of course exam because of the pandemic.

Sydney Bowdry, a 2018 Thomasville High School grad, agrees that this year may have made a difference.

"As a test taker, I have bad anxiety," said Bowdry.

Graduation rates increased 1.8 percent without the tests.

Georgia Department of Education says part of the increase this year is a waiver for students with cognitive disabilities, reassigning them to a different grading standard.

Bowdry says that's a step in the right direction.

"Identify the students. It helps the students realize, 'yeah, maybe I need some more time on this test because I can't focus,'" Bowdry said.

The state superintendent praised students this year for being able to stay focused during the pandemic saying, "They were able to rise above."

The education department says they are looking to see those numbers continue to grow when the end of course testing resumes next year.