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Press Release: State High School Graduation Rate Sets New Record High

Dropout Rate at an All-Time Low

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

Baltimore, MD (February 12, 2016)

A higher percentage of Maryland students are crossing the stage to receive their high school diplomas than at any other time in the State’s history, according to data released today by the Maryland State Department of Education.  As the graduation rate sets new records, the dropout rate has reached an all-time low.

“Each student who graduates from high school is a success story, and those students, families, and schools should celebrate that success,” said Dr. Jack Smith, Interim State Superintendent of Schools.  “It also is important to remember that a high school diploma is only the first step.  We continue to strengthen our standards to better prepare each student for life beyond high school--be it further education, the workforce, or both.”

The four-year cohort graduation rate reached 87 percent in 2015 -- 5 points better than the 82 percent rate registered in 2010.  The graduation rate jumped .6 percentage points over 2014, from 86.4 percent. 

Most student subgroups saw improvement in graduation rates between 2014 and 2015, although gaps in the numbers persist:

  • Four-year cohort graduation rates for African American, Asian, Native Hawaiian and White students all improved, 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 82.3 percent in 2015. 
  • The graduation rate for Hispanic students dipped by .6 percentage points between 2014 and 2015, but has improved by more than 5 percentage points since 2011, from 71.7 percent to 76.9 percent.
  • Among students receiving special services, the four-year cohort graduation rate rose in two of three categories. Specifically, both special education students and students receiving free or reduced price meals improved.  But the percentage of English language learners graduating fell from 54.1 percent in 2014 to 49.3 percent in 2015.

Maryland six 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 11.9 percent in 2010, dropped to 8.1 percent in 2015.

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