Graduation Disparities for Limited English Proficiency and African American Students Are Narrowing

April 29, 2019

Note: This press release is being resent with corrected data tables.

County experiences decrease in overall graduation rate, but continues to perform above state average

Graduation rates for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) jumped 5.8 percentage points between the Class of 2017 and the Class of 2018, according to data released by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) last month.

“This is particularly noteworthy since there were also 444 more LEP students enrolled between cohorts,” said Superintendent Jack Smith. “We recognize that we have a lot of work ahead in supporting all of our students to reach their full potential, but this is an encouraging sign.”

Overall the four-year cohort graduation rate for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students for the 2017-2018 school year is 88.4 percent, a decrease of 1.2 percentage points from the previous year, but still above the state average of 87.7 percent.

The four-year graduation rate for African American students rose to 89.6, a one-year increase of 1.3 percentage points and two-year increase of 1.9 percentage points. The graduation rate for MCPS students who receive Free and Reduced-price Meals (FARMS) also continues to improve, with a one-year increase of 1.2 percent.

“We are committed to ensuring every student, regardless of their background, has the opportunities, access and support to earn a degree and be prepared for college, career and community,” said Montgomery County Board of Education President Shebra Evans.

The highest gains were seen with Limited English Proficient (LEP) students, whose graduation rates rose by 5.8 percentage points in one year. During the same period their overall population almost tripled from four years ago (from 411 students in 2014 to 1,132 students in 2018). This increase shows that even with the rapid growth of the LEP student population, many have been able to successfully complete graduation requirements along with their four-year cohort. Even where some students have taken an extra year to graduate as members of a five-year cohort, it shows significant growth and achievement when factoring in that many first came to MCPS as non-English speakers in their freshman year of high school.

The graduation rate for MCPS Hispanic students fell by 2.7 percentage points over the previous academic year.

Eight of the school system’s 25 high schools saw a one-year increase in the graduation rates, and seven high schools saw a two-year increase. 

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