Charter school's graduation rate to remain at 7 percent

COVINGTON -- The Challenge Charter Academy's 2011 graduation rate will remain at 7 percent.

When the Georgia Department of Education released its new statewide rate calculation, known as the adjusted cohort rate, last week, the academy's rate was listed as 7.14. However, the school's principal did not agree with the new rate.

"It seems to me, that CCA would have a 'not applicable,'" said CCA Principal Ernetta Dailey-Worthy, adding that the school's first ninth-grade class was in 2008-09 and is not scheduled to graduate until May 2012. "We have not had any cohort of students for four full years prior to this school year, and therefore do not understand how CCA was assigned a percentage."

According to the Georgia DOE, the charter school has a graduation rate based on three years worth of data.

Matt Cardoza, director of Communications at the Georgia DOE, said the report for Newton shows that there were students at the charter school during the 2008-09 school year.

"There are no first-time ninth-graders for 2007-08 report for Challenge Charter, but their cohort grad rate starts with the students who were entered in 2008-09," he said.

The school did not have a graduation rate listed on its 2010-11 Adequate Yearly Progress report, but it does list six total graduates and a 23.5 percent dropout rate for all students for the 2010-11 school year on the Georgia DOE's Report Card of the school.

The new federally-mandated graduation rate calculation for the Newton County School System is 64.14, about 3 percent below the state's new rate and about 20 percent lower than the previously calculated rate, called the lever rate. Individually, the state also reported that Alcovy High School's graduation rate for 2011 is 64.71, Eastside's is 70.60 and Newton's is 66.33.

The new calculation is meant to allow states to more uniformly compare graduation rates across the nation and better account for dropouts by dividing the number of graduates in a given year by the number of students who enrolled four years earlier, according to the Georgia DOE.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.