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Howard County Graduation Rates Continue to Outpace State Norm

February 9th, 2018

Graduation data for the Class of 2017 show Howard County public school students graduating at significantly higher rates than their peers across Maryland. At 92.28 percent, the HCPSS Class of 2017 graduation rate is the highest among the six Maryland systems with enrollment of more than 50,000 students, and exceeds the state average of 87.67 percent by 4.61 percentage points. While showing a slight dip compared to the 2016 rate of 93.21 percent, the 2017 HCPSS rate is up nearly 2 percentage points from 90.39 percent in 2012. The statistics reflect data for the cohort of students graduating within four years after entering high school. HCPSS has maintained graduation rates above 90 percent for several years.

Graduation rates among some student groups show positive trends. At 89.95 percent, the graduation rate for HCPSS African-American students exceeds the 85.44 percent state average for this group by more than 4.5 percentage points, and shows a five-year improvement of more than 6 percentage points. The 80.42 percent 2017 graduation rate for students eligible for Free and Reduced-price Meal services (FARMs) is nearly 6 percentage points above the 2012 rate of 74.73 percent, and compares favorably to the 79.30 percent 2017 average for the state.

Oakland Mills High School showed a notable improvement. Its 2017 graduation rate rose more than 3 percentage points to 90.37 percent, up from 86.62 percent in 2016, and showed a five-year increase of nearly 6 full percentage points from the 84.38 rate for 2012. Improvement among some specific student groups was even more impressive; for example, 91.67 percent of African-American students in the Oakland Mills Class of 2017 graduated last year, up from 88.89 percent in 2016, and more than 10 percentage points above the 81.36 rate in 2012.

HCPSS dropout patterns echo the graduation rate trends. At 4.56 percent, the dropout rate for the Class of 2017, while up slightly over the 3.96 rate for 2016, remains well below the state average of 8.21 percent and shows a five-year decrease from the 6.02 rate in 2012. Dropout rates among HCPSS African-American students have shown a steady decline, down to 5.24 percent in 2017 from 9.75 percent in 2012. The rates among FARMs students show similarly positive trends, falling from 14.57 percent in 2012 to 12.22 percent for 2017—a decrease of more than two full percentage points.

Details on graduation and dropout rates for the school system and individual schools are available at