Earlier this week, several media outlets reported on graduation statistics from the Alabama Department of Education (ALDED), which showed graduation rates falling below 90% in the state for the first time since 2018.

One report claimed the new 88.2% graduation rate applied to the Class of 2022, which were seniors during the 2021-2022 academic school year. 

However, ALDED director of Communications Michael Sibley said that statistic actually applies to the Class of 2023, who are currently high school seniors. Sibley said the data is preliminary, and ALDED will use it to create its 2023 Report Card.

Sibley insisted that the statistic is unlikely to change, but ALDED is still collecting data from some state schools, particularly charter schools. He said the members of the current senior class were freshmen when COVID-19 hit in March 2020.

“This is the first graduating class that completed high school with three years of interruptions from COVID,” Sibley said in a statement to 1819 News. “It underlines the imperative of providing strong academic support and wrap-around services for these students.”

Sibley noted that Alabama graduation rates still exceed neighboring states. The Class of 2018 was the last class to have a graduation rate below 90% at 89%. The last time the graduation rate was lower than 88.2% was in 2017 when it was 87%.


Sibley originally told 1819 News that the graduation statistics for the 2023 report card will indicate the graduation rate of the Class of 2023 and that the reports about the Class of 2022 were incorrect.

However, Sibley contacted 1819 News on Thursday morning to correct himself. He said that the report cards are always a year behind, so the report card for 2023 will indicate the graduation rate for the Class of 2022. The Class of 2023's graduation rate will show up in the 2024 report card, and so on.

The numbers are still preliminary, however. 

1819 News regrets the error. 

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email will.blakely@1819news.com or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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