Howard County Graduation Rates Continue to Outpace State Norm

Graduation data for the Class of 2017 show Howard County public school students graduating at significantly higher rates than their peers across Maryland. At 92.28%, the graduation rate is the highest among the six Maryland systems, with enrollment of more than 50,000 students, and exceeds the state average of 87.67% by 4.61%. While showing a slight dip compared to the 2016 rate of 93.21%, the 2017 HCPSS rate is up nearly 2 percentage points from 90.39% in 2012. The statistics reflect data for the cohort of students graduating within four years after entering high school.

At 89.95%, the graduation rate for African-American students exceeds the 85.44% state average by more than 4.5 percentage points, and shows a five-year improvement of more than 6%. The 80.42% graduation rate for students eligible for Free and Reduced-price Meal services (FARMs) is nearly 6% above the 2012 rate of 74.73%, and compares favorably to the 79.30% 2017 average for the state.

Oakland Mills High School showed a notable improvement. Its graduation rate rose more than 3 percentage points to 90.37%, up from 86.62% in 2016. The graduation rate of African-American students in 2017 was 91.67%, up from 88.89% in 2016 and more than 10 percentage points above the 81.36% rate in 2012.

Dropout patterns echo the graduation rate trends. At 4.56%, the dropout rate, while up slightly over the 3.96% rate for 2016, remains well below the state average of 8.21% and shows a five-year decrease from the 6.02% rate in 2012. Dropout rates among African-American students have shown a steady decline, down to 5.24% in 2017 from 9.75% in 2012. The rates among FARMs students fell from 14.57% in 2012 to 12.22% for 2017.

Details on graduation and dropout rates for the school system and individual schools are available at


UM School of Pharmacy Receives $500,000 Grant for New Center of Excellence

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy have been awarded a three-year, $500,000 grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Foundation to establish a new Center of Excellence for Patient-Driven Value Assessment at the school.

Led by Susan dosReis, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR), the team includes researchers from PHSR and the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS). The team invited stakeholders to a kick-off meeting at the School on Feb. 20. Topics included building partnerships with Hispanic and under- or uninsured communities and expanding value assessment training.

The center will strive to promote the inclusion of diverse patient voices in research to help uncover the elements of value in health care that are most important to patients. It is one of only two centers funded by the PhRMA Foundation to lead the development of transformative strategies to better assess the value of medicines and health care services while improving patient outcomes and reducing inefficiency in health care.

“Previous research has shown that an insufficient focus on patient-driven value assessment in health care limits our ability to fully evaluate the cost-effectiveness of available treatments,” said dosReis. “Our Center of Excellence is founded on the fundamental premise that value in health care must be defined by patients.”