Harford exceeds state in 2011 graduation rate, HSA passing scores

Harford County's Class of 2011 scores on the annual High School Assessments were among the highest in the state and above the state average, according to figures released recently.

In Harford County, 94.8 percent of students met the HSA requirement, higher than the state's passing rate of 90.1 percent. The remaining 5.2 percent of students met the requirement through the Bridge Plan or with a waiver. The Maryland State Department of Education released the data Oct. 31 and lags by one year for accountability purposes. Information on the 2012 graduating class is expected to be available in early 2013.


Most schools districts in the Baltimore-metropolitan area were on par or exceeded the state's average, except Baltimore City at 67 percent of its student passing the assessments.

In comparison, 94 percent of students in Anne Arundel County passed the HSAs, 91 percent in Baltimore County and at least 95 percent in Howard and Carroll counties.


"This year, Maryland was granted flexibility regarding the Federal No Child Left Behind law," the school system said in a press release announcing the results. "The new Maryland accountability plan focuses on student growth, on-time graduation rates and college and career readiness for all students."

Although the HSAs remain the same, the Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs), or the state-established proficiency rates, are calculated differently to reflect school-specific data based on baseline data from 2011.

"Rather than focusing on all students achieving 100 percent proficiency by 2014," the release continued, "the new plan sets a trajectory for steady increased student proficiency by 2017."

This year, four of the 10 high schools in Harford did not meet its specific AMO for graduation in at least one subgroup — Aberdeen, Edgewood, Havre de Grace and Joppatowne high schools — and one high school did not meet the AMO in reading — Harford Technical High School.

"As in the past, accountability measures all students, as well as racial subgroups and groups of students receiving additional services, such as special education and English Language Learners," the release stated. "As a result of the NCLB flexibility granted to Maryland, the Adequate Yearly Progress indicator has been eliminated. Therefore, schools not meeting the AMOs will no longer be classified on a school improvement list."

The state's plan now focuses attention on specific schools with subgroups that do not meet their AMOs.

Harford's Class of 2011 had a graduation rate of 87.4 percent, a slight increase from the previous year and higher than the state average at 83 percent.

Harford County Public Schools' Class of 2010 had a graduation rate of 85.7 percent. The graduation rate is calculated by dividing the number of diplomas given out by the number of students who entered the ninth grade four years earlier.

Bel Air, C. Milton Wright, Fallston, Harford Technical, North Harford and Patterson Mill high schools all achieved graduation rates higher than 90 percent, according to a press release from HCPS.

To graduate, students must pass each Maryland High School Assessment (HSA), achieve a combined minimum score on all tests, participate in the Bridge Plan for Academic Validation program or receive a waiver.

"We are proud of our students and staff for their continued hard work and diligence to improve our overall graduation rate each year by ensuring that all of our students receive the proper preparation for life beyond high school," Superintendent Robert Tomback said in the press release. "Our goal remains that each and every student graduating from our schools is equipped for college and/or a career."

The scores

Most schools excelled in algebra/data analysis, biology and government, while English passing scores across the board trailed behind.

Aberdeen High School seniors passed algebra at a rate of 90.9 percent. In biology, 78.2 percent of 12th-graders passed, 85.5 percent in English and 82.5 percent in government.

Juniors had 89.6 percent pass in algebra, 78.5 percent in biology, 83.3 percent in English and 79.2 percent in government.

Tenth graders fell slightly short, with 88.4 percent passing the algebra portion, 80.2 percent in biology, 77 percent in English and 74.4 percent in government.

Bel Air High School had some of the highest passing margins in the county.

At least 95 percent of seniors passed in algebra and government, while 93.5 percent passed in biology and 91.5 percent in English.

Juniors did even better, with at least 95 percent passing in algebra, biology and government, while 90.6 percent passed in English.

Scores were similar for 10th grade students, with at least 95 percent passing in algebra and biology, 87.8 percent in English and 94.2 percent in government.

C. Milton Wright also had high passing scores — all grades had at least 95 percent in algebra and government.

Seniors achieved a 91 percent passing rate in biology and 92.1 percent in English, juniors passed at 92.6 percent in biology and 92.5 percent in English and sophomores had at least 95 percent passing biology and 93 percent in English.

Edgewood High School had 87.8 percent of its seniors pass the algebra portion of the rest, 86.6 percent of juniors and 84.4 percent of sophomores.

In biology, 76.9 percent of seniors passed, 80.5 percent of juniors and 82.6 percent of sophomores.

In English, 78.4 percent of seniors passed, 83.3 percent of juniors and 72.5 percent of sophomores. Government passing scores were slightly higher — 84.4 percent of 12th graders, 82.8 in 11th and 83.5 in 10th grade.

At least 95 percent of Fallston High School seniors passed the algebra portion, while the same percentage of sophomores passed algebra and biology.

Both biology and English saw 90 percent of seniors passing and 94.5 percent in government.

Eleventh grade students passed with a 92.3 percent margin in algebra, 93.1 percent in biology, 89.9 percent in English and 94.7 percent in government.

Sophomores had 92.8 percent in the class pass English and 93.3 percent in government.

Biology was a strong subject for Harford Technical High School students — at least 95 percent of juniors and sophomores passed.

Seniors scored high with 92.7 percent passing in algebra, 92.1 percent in biology, 87.4 percent in English and 94.9 percent in government.

For 11th grade, 93.7 percent passed algebra, 88.2 percent in English and 93.8 percent in government.

Tenth graders passed algebra with 92.3 percent of the students, 87.9 percent in English and 89.2 percent in government.

Havre de Grace High School students did the best in algebra, with 87 percent of seniors passing, 91.4 percent in 11th grade and 91 percent of 10th grade.

In biology, 85.4 percent of seniors passed, 88.2 percent of juniors and 91.6 percent of sophomores. For English, seniors passed with an 84.1 percent margin, 78.3 percent for 11th grade and 79.2 percent in 10th. In government, 87.2 percent of seniors passed, 91.9 percent of juniors and 82.3 percent of sophomores.


Joppatowne High School students did well in government, with 86 percent of seniors passing, 87.4 percent of juniors and 84.2 percent of sophomores.


In other subjects for seniors, 85.6 percent passed algebra, 76 percent in biology and 72.6 percent in English. For juniors, 83.9 percent passed algebra, 80.6 percent in biology and 75.2 percent in English. Tenth-graders passed algebra with 82 percent, biology with 77.6 percent and English with 72 percent.

North Harford High School had at least 95 percent of its students passing in several subjects, as well.

At least 95 percent of seniors and juniors passed in government and the same percentage of sophomores passed in algebra and biology.

For seniors, 92.7 percent passed algebra, 88.2 percent biology and 91.4 percent English. Juniors passed algebra with 93.5 percent, 93.1 percent in biology and 91.6 percent in English.

Patterson Mill High School students excelled in multiple subjects.

At least 95 percent of seniors passed in algebra, biology and government, as well as at least 95 percent of juniors and sophomores in algebra and biology.

In English, 93.9 percent of seniors passed and 93 percent for both juniors and sophomores. For government, 94.9 percent of juniors passed and 94 percent of 10th graders.