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Carroll County had the highest graduation rate of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions in 2015, according to state data released Friday, though no change was indicated from the previous year.

The amount of students in a four-year adjusted cohort who graduated in 2015 was 95 percent or higher, the same level reported the previous year.

Due to federal guidelines followed by Maryland State Department of Education when reporting the data, if the graduation rate is higher than 95 or lower than 5 percent, exact percentages are withheld in order to protect student data, said Gregg Bricca, director of research and accountability for Carroll County Public Schools.

"We certainly have to be pleased, and I think we would attribute it to a number of things we have put in place over time," said Bricca, who noted that the school system only received the data recently.

The four-year cohort graduation rate across the state improved slightly overall by 0.6 percentage points from 2014. The cohort graduation rate uses data collected from a group of students from the time they enter ninth grade until they graduate, Bricca said.

"The effects are sort of seen over a longer period of time," he said.

The school system has historically had a high graduation rate, which Bricca said can be attributed to the county's community values. Having a high number of students on track to graduate has allowed the school system to focus on individual students at risk of dropping out or not graduating, Bricca said, whereas other larger jurisdictions might struggle to reach greater numbers of at-risk students.

"We know that the comprehensive high school is not the answer for all students and using alternative programs and looking at a variety of options — the Flexible Student Support Program — as a way to get students what they need to be a successful graduate," Bricca said. The Flexible Student Support Program is an alternative initiative that provides extra support for students who are at risk of dropping out.

The four-year cohort dropout rate among most student populations, including Hispanic or Latino students, black students, and students who are eligible for free or reduced meals, decreased from 2014 to 2015, according to the 2015 State Report Card, whereas the dropout rate for white and Asian students remained the same.

Despite that improvement, there were still more black, Latino and low-income students in the county who dropped out of high school than their peers, according to the data. In addition, the number of special education students in the four-year cohort who dropped out increased from nine in 2014 to 10 in 2015, data show.

lauren.loricchio@carrollcountytimes.com
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4-year adjusted cohort graduation rate

Jurisdiction20142015
Allegany County91.5192.06
Anne Arundel County87.7588
Baltimore City69.6569.52
Baltimore County87.6387.78
Calvert County94.0994.19
Caroline County81.9488.72
Carroll County>=95>=95
Cecil County88.6287.75
Charles County91.4192.36
Dorchester County87.986.2
Frederick County92.6293.47
Garrett County93.1993.46
Harford County89.8389.94
Howard County92.8593.47
Kent County89.7490.8
Montgomery County89.6889.36
Prince George's County76.5978.75
Queen Anne's County93.9794.85
St. Mary's County93.4694.26
Somerset County85.5787.98
Talbot County91.7693.25
Washington County91.0591.16
Wicomico County84.4483.53
Worcester County91.1593.1

Source: 2015 Maryland Report Card

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