Baltimore's high school graduation rate rises; state's rate slips

Baltimore City Public Schools’ four-year graduation rate rose across all demographic groups, according to data recently released by the Maryland education department, even as the statewide rate slipped.

Of the 5,195 students in the city’s 2018 graduating class, 72.2 percent graduated in four years — an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the class of 2017 that represents the largest jump in more than five years. It’s emblematic of a larger upward trajectory: Since 2010, the city’s four-year graduation rate has increased by more than 10 percentage points.


The graduation rate went up across several subgroups: black students, Hispanic students, white students and students with disabilities. The year-over-year increase among English learners was the most striking, going from 41 percent to 51.2 percent.

“I’m pleased to see all of our student groups graduating at higher rates,” schools CEO Sonja Santelises said in a statement. “When we meet students’ needs and interests, they are more motivated to be in school, they take more ownership of their learning, and they make stronger connections to their school communities. There is a lot of work ahead, but we are heading in the right direction.”


Meanwhile, the state’s four-year graduation rate fell slightly, from 87.67 percent to 87.12 percent.

The rollout of a high school graduation requirement tied to a demanding new science test could be delayed for at least two more years, following a preliminary vote of the Maryland State School Board Tuesday.

Across Central Maryland, there were increases in every county except Howard. In that highly regarded school district, the graduation rate dipped modestly from 92.28 percent to 91.95 percent.

Baltimore County students graduated at a slightly higher rate, as did those in Harford County.

In Anne Arundel, some of the county’s largest gains came from special education students. The graduation rate among that group of students rose by 4.16 points, up to 66 percent. But that county also saw the achievement gap widen between black and white students. Roughly 92 percent of white students in last year’s graduating class graduated, compared to about 86 percent of black students. The year before, the gap was only about 3.3 percentage points.


Carroll’s graduation rate remained stellar, with more than 95 percent of students earning a diploma in four years.


2018: 87.12 percent

2017: 87.67 percent

Anne Arundel County

2018: 89.20 percent

2017: 88.53 percent

Baltimore City

2018: 72.18 percent

2017: 70.67 percent

Baltimore County

2018: 89.16 percent

2017: 89 percent

Carroll County

2018: > 95 percent

2017: > 95 percent

Harford County

2018: 89.22 percent

2017: 88.94 percent

Howard County

2018: 91.95 percent

2017: 92.28 percent

Source: Maryland Department of Education

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