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Education and Youth Development
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Research Highlights

The community's efforts in education and youth development have yielded improving results, but some challenges remain.

The education and youth development indicators are first grade readiness, 4th grade reading proficiency, high school graduation rate, out of school suspensions, disengaged young adults and teenage birth rates. These six indicators provide information useful in assessing progress toward the goal of providing a sound education that enables the community's children and young adults to become productive members of society.

First grade readiness is measured among kindergarten-age children by GKIDS (formerly GKAP) test scores. The indicator is the percentage of kindergarten children who enter first grade with proficient English and Math skills. In 2012, Chatham County’s entering first grader public school students scored higher than the state average in English and Math, but scores fell from the previous year.
Academic achievement is measured by two indicators, reading proficiency in fourth grade and the on-time high school graduation rate. In 2012, the fourth grade CRCT scores in reading increased by a large amount in both the county’s public schools and on a state-wide basis. Local public school fourth graders score slightly below the state average in reading. However, in 2013 the county's scores fell back down, while the state remained the same. The on-time graduation rate for public high school remains below the state average.

Youth development is measured by three indicators: proportion of young adults not in school or working, the out of school suspension rate, and teenage birth rate. The proportion of young adults age 18 to 24 in the county who are not in school or working is nearly four percentage points less than the state rate. Further, the level of disengagement among 16- to 19-year-olds increased and is higher in the county as compared to the state. Further, the level of disengagement among 16- to 19-year-olds substantially declined and is now less than the state rate. The out of school suspension rates for both 9th and 12th graders increased in 2012 and remain above state averages. The teenage birth rate decreased dramatically and fell below the state level.

  • The 2012-2013 GKIDS scores in Chatham County indicate 85.1% and 81.7% of the children met or exceeded the standard in math and English, respectively.
  • The 2012-2013 combined English and math GKIDS exam scores in Chatham County decreased 8.2 percentage points from the previous year; similarly the combined score for Georgia fell 8.3 percentage points.
  • CRCT reading scores for fourth graders decreased to 86.7% in 2013, and students in Chatham County public schools are still scoring below the state average of 90.2%, which remained the same as in 2012.
  • The on-time graduation rate for 2012 is 63.3% in Chatham County public schools, while the state rate is 69.7%. The gap between the state and county rate significantly declined from 2011 to 2012.
  • The percentage of disengaged 18- to 24-year-olds in Chatham County was 14%, which compares favorably to 17.7% for Georgia in 2005-2007.
  • The percentage of disengaged 16- to 19-year-olds in Chatham County was 11.7%, which is less than the 14.2% rate for Georgia in 2011.
  • The out of school suspension rate for 9th grade public school students in Chatham County increased from 28.9% in 2011 to 31.6% in 2012.
  • The out of school suspension rate for 12th grade public school students in Chatham County increased from 15.8% to 18.7% in 2012.
  • The teenage birth rate decreased in Chatham County to 40.3 per 1,000 females, as compared to 41.2 for the state in 2010. This indicator fell below birth rates typically recorded since 2003.