National Study Cites County's High Graduation Rates

November 14, 2001
Montgomery County Public Schools had the highest graduation rate for Hispanic students of any large school district in the nation, the fourth highest graduation rate for African American students, and the second highest rate overall, according to a new national study of data from 1998 on the successful completion of high school.

The study, “High School Graduation Rates in the United States,” was conducted by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and sponsored by the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). The study, which was released on November 13, compared the most recent graduation data available (1998) to the number of eighth graders in 1994 in all states and in the nation’s 50 largest school districts.

Based on this calculation, Montgomery County's overall graduation rate of 85 percent in 1998 was second only to Fairfax County, with a graduation rate of 87 percent, in a comparison of the nation’s 50 largest school districts. Overall, the national graduation rate was 74 percent.

The new study found that 73 percent of Hispanic students graduated from MCPS in 1998, the highest in the nation among large districts. The graduation rate for African American students during the same time period was 75 percent, the nation’s fourth highest. The study also showed a graduation rate of 88 percent for white students, the fifth highest nationally. No data were reported in the study for the graduation rate among Asian American students.

By comparison, the study found that nationally just 54 percent of Hispanic students, 56 percent of African American students and 78 percent of white students finished high school in 1998.

"The results continue to demonstrate that our school district is headed in the right direction, as we focus on the needs of our highly diverse student enrollment," said Superintendent Jerry D. Weast. “Our teachers and principals work hard to help students earn a high school diploma, with some of the highest academic standards in the nation, and the new data demonstrate our continued progress. I think we will see even more progress as more recent data are studied."

In another study reported last year, the U.S. Department of Education included GED graduates and others with alternative credentials into the calculation of graduation rates and found that MCPS graduated 90.75 percent of its students, the highest graduation rate in the nation.

A December 2000 Maryland School Performance Report continued to track the school system’s achievement in graduating students, noting that Montgomery County had the lowest dropout rate (1.71 percent) in Maryland and the lowest dropout rate since 1993.

The full report on the new study can be found at the web site link below.

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