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Press Release: Maryland High School Graduation Rate Hits Record High

Across-the-Board Improvement Registered; Dropout Rate Falls

For Immediate Release                                            Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486

Baltimore, MD (January 27, 2015)

More Maryland students are receiving their high school diplomas than ever before, according to data released today by the Maryland State Department of Education.  As the graduation rate has hit record levels, the dropout rate has declined.

“Every student who graduates from high school moves a step closer to college, career, and a world of opportunities,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery.  “These results show that Maryland is headed in the right direction, but we also must continue work to close gaps in graduation rates that persist among students of different backgrounds.”

The four-year cohort graduation rate reached 86.39 percent in 2014 -- more than 4 percentage points better than the 81.97 percent rate registered in 2010.  The graduation rate jumped more than 1 percent over 2013, from 84.97 percent.  At the same time, dropout rates have fallen to new lows.

While gaps in graduation rates between student groups remain, the numbers improved across the board in 2014:

  • Four-year cohort graduation rates for American Indian, African American, Asian, Hispanic, and White students improved between 2013 and 2014, as did the rate for students identifying as two or more races.
  • The graduation rate for African American students has jumped from 76.09 in 2010 to 80.54 in 2014. 
  • The graduation rate for Hispanic students has improved nearly 6 percentage points, from 71.7 percent in 2010 to 77.5 percent in 2014,
  • Among students receiving special services, the four-year cohort graduation rate rose in two of three categories. The graduation rate for Special Education students, for example, improved more than 3 percentage points in one year, from 60.03 percent to 63.45 percent.
  • The graduation rate for students receiving free- or reduced price meals increased by nearly two percentage points, from 75.81 percent to 77.75 percent. 
  • The graduation rate for English Language Learners (ELL) dipped from 57.3 percent to 54.1 percent.  It should be noted that many ELL students spend an additional year in high school.  The five-year cohort graduation rate for ELL students in 2013--the most recent year with complete figures--stood at 67.48 percent.

Maryland five years ago moved to the cohort graduation rate, which follows a set group of students from freshman year through their senior year.  The four-year cohort graduation rate has improved every year since.  Simultaneously, the dropout rate has been in steady decline.  The State’s dropout rate, which stood at 11.93 percent in 2010, dropped to 8.35 percent in 2014.

The percentage of students dropping out of school also has declined across racial subgroups. The four-year cohort dropout rate for Hispanic students has declined from 18.65 percent in 2011 to 14.68 percent in 2014.  The dropout rate for African American students fell from 14.6 percent in 2011 to 10.57 percent in 2014.

The new high school and system data will be available on the updated website at noon today.