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MCPS Graduation Rate Among Top Four in Nation

June 20, 2006
Nearly 82 out of 100 Seniors Graduate in MCPS with Regular Diploma

A new study published by Education Week Tuesday finds that graduation rates in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) rank among the top four in the nation.

MCPS’ graduation rate of 81.5 percent surpasses the national average of 69.6 percent and the Maryland average of 74.4 percent, according to the study of 2002-2003 graduation rates.

“It is encouraging that we are among the best in the nation in terms of our graduation rates,” said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. “However, we know that there is much more work to do to ensure that all of our students leave MCPS with a solid educational foundation that prepares them well for college or the world of work.”

Three school systems had slightly higher graduation rates than MCPS – Baltimore County (81.9 percent), Wake County, N.C. (82.2 percent) and Fairfax County, Virginia (82.5 percent).

MCPS requires students to obtain 22 credits to receive a high school diploma, one credit more than the state requirement of 21 credits. The difference is that MCPS requires four math credits while the state only requires three credits.

The report highlights that there continues to be a significant disparity in graduation rates between African American and Hispanic students and their White and Asian American peers across the country. In fact, the graduation rates in urban districts are 10 percentage points lower than the national average and 15 percent lower than suburban districts.

In a study of African American male graduation rates released this month by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, MCPS ranked second only to Baltimore County in graduation rates for African American males. The graduation rate for African American males in MCPS is 64 percent according to the Schott Foundation, while in Baltimore County the graduation rate is 78 percent for African American males. The Schott study looked at data for the 2003-2004 year, and is based on a calculation of the percentage of the students enrolled in ninth grade receiving diplomas with their cohort at the end of twelfth grade.

The Education Week study was conducted by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. It analyzed graduation data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as the nation’s 50 largest school districts. More information about the study is available at www.edweek.org/dc06.

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