Anne Arundel public schools see slight decrease in graduation rates overall but South River leads with largest increase

Anne Arundel County Public School system saw a slight dip in graduation rates in 2019 in comparison to 2018, following a statewide trend, according to data released by the Maryland State Department of Education Tuesday.

The school system’s graduation rate of 88.3%, which reflects the percentage of students who graduated within four years of starting high school, is less than one percentage point below that of a year ago, according to the school system. The graduation rate among special education students climbed 2.47 percentage points, which the school system said was the biggest increase from the previous year.


The graduation rate for students who identify as African American rose 1.34 percentage points to 87.72% and the rate for students who identify as two or more races rose by 1.29 points, according to the school system. The gap in graduation rate between African American and white students narrowed by 2.2 percentage points compared to last year and is 4.8 points less than it was when the four-year cohort model was first reported by MSDE in 2011.

South River saw the largest increase in graduation rates, bumping up 2.9 percentage points. The high school didn’t see any decline among student groups. The next two largest increases were seen at Chesapeake High School, a 1.54 percentage point increase, and Glen Burnie High, a 1.18 percentage point increase.

“There is a lot of very good and difficult work that has been done to achieve some of these results,” Superintendent George Arlotto said in a statement. “I am pleased that we continued to close the gap for African-American students and students of two or more races, and with the third consecutive year of increases for special education students. However, we have an immense amount of work to do to get to where we need to be.”

Maryland’s statewide high school graduation rate fell slightly in 2019, while school districts in the Baltimore region saw slightly larger declines. The new graduation figures showed 86.9% of students graduating statewide, down from 87.7% the previous year.

The class of 2019 was the first class to be required to obtain a minimum score on the English and Algebra I PARCC assessments, which have been used for four years, or complete a project. Maryland is among a minority of states in the United States that requires students to pass exams in order to graduate from high school.

Maryland education officials did not comment on the graduation rates.

Gaps continue to persist between student groups. For instance, the graduation rate statewide for English language learners was 53.7%, up slightly from 2018 but lower than any student group in the state. The graduation rate for students with disabilities was 63.5%, down nearly three percentage points and for economically disadvantaged students was 80%, down nearly four percentage points.

Harford and Howard county school systems saw increases in the graduation rate. Harford went from 89.2% to 90.2% in 2019. Howard’s rate grew from 91.9% to 92.8%. Carroll remained at 95 percent or higher, although the state will not release exact data if more than 95 percent of students are graduating because of privacy rules.