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What’s happening in Maryland

Maryland's high school graduation rates have been rising steadily over the last few years. Although there is still a lot of work to be done, and a significant number of children are still falling behind or dropping out of school, the state is making positive strides.

Good News

"The four-year cohort graduation rate reached 84.97 percent for the class of 2013 – students who entered school in the fall of 2009 – compared to 83.57 percent for the class of 2012. That represents a remarkable 1.4 percentage point increase in the graduation rate in just one year. At the same time, the cohort dropout rate fell by nearly a full percentage point to 9.36, the lowest on record."
(Source: Maryland State Department of Education, January 28, 2014)

The numbers show progress and the news is encouraging. For example, the graduation rate for Hispanic students jumped more than 2.5 percentage points between 2012 and 2013, from 72.51 percent to 75.08 percent. Additionally:

  • African American student graduation jumped from 76.50% in 2012 to 78.26%
  • Asian student graduation increased from 93.44% to 95%
  • White student graduation improved from 90.49% to 91.11%
  • Special education student graduation jumped by more than 2.5 percentage points – from 57.41% to 60.03%
  • The rate for students receiving free or reduced-price meals increased by nearly a percentage point, from 74.87% to 75.81%
  • (Source: Maryland State Department of Education, January 28, 2014)

As the numbers reveal, Maryland is highly invested in building strong and educated communities and families by focusing on preparing today’s students for college and career success.

Factors Leading to the Dropout Crisis

There is still a lot of work to be done to make sure that all students have access to high quality resources and programs to help them succeed in school. High school dropout rates are affected by a variety of factors and circumstances. Below are some of the common situations that may play a role in the dropout crisis, both locally and nationally.

  • Low socioeconomic status/low-income background
  • Race: young men of color lag behind other subgroups of students
  • Chronic absenteeism
  • Learning disabilities
  • (Source: Building a Grad Nation Report, April, 2014)


The impact of the dropout crisis reaches much farther than at-risk students, families and schools.

  • The unemployment rates are higher for high school drop outs
  • Half of all Americans on public assistance are dropouts
  • High school dropouts have a higher rate of being imprisoned
  • (Source: Alliance for Excellent Education)


Learn more about the key indicators affecting the educational outcomes of students.