MCPS Graduation Rate Among Top in the Nation

June 4, 2008
MCPS Graduation Rate Third Among Nation’s 50 Largest Districts, Education Week Study Finds

Nearly 82 out of 100 Seniors Graduate in MCPS with Regular Diploma

A new study published by Education Week today finds that the graduation rate in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) ranks among the top three in the nation. Last year MCPS was among the nation’s top six in graduation rate.

The MCPS graduation rate of 81.7 percent surpasses the national average of 71 percent and the Maryland average of 73.6 percent. The Education Week study, Diplomas Count 2008, used 2005 data, the most recent available for this nationwide analysis.

“This is excellent news for students and parents in Montgomery County,” said Board of Education President Nancy Navarro. “We will continue our efforts to provide the finest educational opportunities for all our students. These statistics are further confirmation of the results gained from the Board of Education’s Strategic Plan and the residents of our county should feel confident that we are continuing to see the benefits of their investment in all of our children.”

“MCPS has focused on providing a rigorous and challenging curriculum for all our students,” said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. “I am pleased that our graduation rate is among the best in the nation and that our graduates are well-prepared for further education and careers.”

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. In addition, participation by MCPS students in Advanced Placement courses and exams exceeds state and national averages.

Two school systems had higher graduation rates than MCPS— Cypress-Fairbanks, Texas (89.6 percent; number 38 in school system site), and Jordan, Utah (82.6 percent; number 40 in size). Both of these school systems are considerably smaller than MCPS, number 16 in size nationally, and both are districts that do not have as great a level of diversity as Montgomery County.

The report highlights a continuing significant disparity in graduation rates across racial and ethnic groups nationwide. While 71 percent of ninth grade students in the United States graduate four years later, the rate for Hispanic students is 58 percent and the rate for African American students is 55 percent. Native American students’ graduation rate is 51 percent.

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. A listing of the graduation rates for the 50 largest districts is attached. Additional information is available at the link below.

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