Carroll County Times
Carroll County Education

Carroll elementary schools perform well in state’s star rating system, as high school graduation rate declined

Carroll County Public Schools’ average graduation rate declined to 93.08% in 2022, down from 95%, where the county had remained each year since 2018, according to data released Thursday by the Maryland Department of Education.

Still, Carroll County’s 93.08% graduation rate was among the state’s best, ahead of Baltimore County’s 84.5% rate, Anne Arundel’s 88.6% rate, and Harford’s 88.7% rate. Frederick County performed similarly to Carroll, with a graduation rate of 93.12%, down from a 93.73% rate in 2021.


In Carroll, Winters Mill High School showed the greatest decline, from 93.3% in 2021 to about 88% in 2022, making it the only county high school to dip below a 90% graduation rate.

“It is significant,” Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Nicholas Shockney said. “Anytime there’s a drop in graduation rate, obviously that’s always significant. This is last year’s graduation rate and I think that group of students was significantly impacted by the pandemic.”


Francis Scott Key’s graduation rate also declined from just below 95% to around 92%, and Manchester Valley High dropped from 91.3% in 2021 to 90.7% in 2022. Carroll’s four other high schools held strong last year, each with 95% graduation rates.

“Ultimately, graduation rate is at the end — it’s the final measure of our effectiveness and how our students are doing,” Shockney said, “but all those other points are important also.”

Five of Carroll County’s high schools lost a star in 2022, with only Liberty and Century retaining a top five-star rating. Westminster and South Carroll high schools dropped from five to four stars while Francis Scott Key, Manchester Valley and Winters Mill went from four to three stars.

The state’s star-rating system for schools is tied to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan 2015 replacement for the No Child Left Behind Act. Maryland’s accountability system awards each school up to five stars based on a formula that aims to measure overall performance.

No Carroll County school earned fewer than three stars.

Every Carroll County middle school received a four-star rating except Northwest Middle, which received three.

Elementary schools in Carroll County performed especially well, with 10 schools receiving a five-star rating and 10 schools receiving four stars. Robert Moton was the only elementary school to receive a three-star rating.

Carroll County Public Schools staff will review the data and will have insights on how to improve the system once they have more time for data analysis, local accountability coordinator Lauren Wilder-Schaeffer said.


“It’s about a well-rounded system of data,” Wilder-Schaeffer said, “and being able to analyze each part of that and the impact that it has on our overall system.”

Shockney said the school system is proud of the work it’s doing but admitted “there’s always room for improvement.”

Carroll County Daily Headlines


Get the day's top news and sports headlines.

“There’s always more that needs to be done. We are in the business of continuous improvement,” Shockney said. “We’re always trying to get better. This data will help us identify and build on what we’re doing well, but also target our areas of weakness and then we can strategize to improve.”

Carroll’s graduation rate for Black students dropped to 88.5% in 2020, then climbed back to 93.5% in 2021. In 2022, 95% of Black students graduated. The graduation rate for Hispanic students stood below 90% before the pandemic, then rose to a high of 94.4% in 2020 before falling to 88% in 2021. In 2022, 83.7% of Hispanic students graduated. Asian students have consistently graduated at a rate of 95% in Carroll County for the last five years.

“Any time there is a decrease in performance with any sort of assessment system, that’s always something we pay attention to,” Shockney said, “and we disaggregate and figure out why, and then strategize to correct and that’s what we’re doing.”


English learners have experienced one of the steepest declines in graduation rates, down 12 percentage points from 2021 (48%). That number is 30 percentage points lower than the English learner graduation rate in 2020.

The graduation rate for students who receive free or reduced-price meals fell from 87.8% in 2021 to around 80% in 2022, and the rate for economically disadvantaged students fell from 88.3% to 78.6% during that same time.

These groups will be targeted to receive additional resources amid Carroll County’s rollout of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform law, which Shockney said will be aimed to help those populations.