After experiencing years of gradual increases in its graduation rate, Maryland saw no significant increase in 2017, according to data released Tuesday by state education officials.
The percentage of high school students who earned a diploma in four years rose to 87.67 percent, up just .06, essentially remaining flat. More African-American, special education and students who qualified for subsidized meals graduated in four years.
Statewide there was a downturn in the percentage of students whose first language is not English who graduated from high school in the spring, from 47.5 percent to 45.31 percent. The state’s high schools also graduated a smaller percentage of Hispanic students last year, down almost 3 percentage points to 73.9 percent.
From 2010 to 2017, the percentage of students graduating in the state has risen by 5.7 percentage points.
“A year ago I would say this is unquestionably good news,” said Maryland State Board of Education President Andrew Smarick. “But now I say there are questions.”
After a state audit of Prince George’s County public schools last year turned up grade changing and evidence that scores of students had graduated despite being absent from school as many as 50 days, some have questioned whether the graduation statistics from that county are accurate.
Since the county is one of the largest in the state, an upturn in the county’s graduation rate could have an effect on the overall state rate. Prince George’s saw an uptick to 82.7 percent from 81.4 percent.
5:20 p.m. Feb. 2: This story was updated to reflect the graduation rates posted online on the 2017 Maryland Report Card. It was originally based on a state news release.