The Howard County Public School System Class of 2023 achieved a graduation rate of 92.57% ― which is 6.76 percentage points better than the state average of 85.81%, but 2.02 percentage points below the HCPSS Class of 2022, according to the Maryland State Department of Education.

The Maryland 2023 four-year dropout rate was 9.83%, more than double the 4.38% dropout rate for the HCPSS Class of 2023.

“As we review this and other data in comparison with the rest of the state, it demonstrates that our school district is preparing the vast majority of students to be life ready,” said HCPSS Acting Superintendent William Barnes. “However, what is also clearly demonstrated is we are not successfully supporting every student to high achievement and preparing them for life success. This graduation and dropout data reinforces the shared priority I have with the Board of Education to reassess the work we do and recalibrate where necessary so every student may achieve.”

The Class of 2023 experienced COVID-19 interruptions in their freshman and sophomore years of high school and returned to a more typical school year in their junior year. The 2023 graduation rates are being compared to 2019 statewide, as 2023 graduation requirements were more comparable to those before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some waivers still in place may have positively impacted graduation rates for the Classes of 2020-22. With this context, a summary of the four-year adjusted cohort graduation and dropout trends for the Classes of 2019 and 2023 is provided below.

● The Maryland state’s four-year 2023 cohort graduation rate was 85.8%, down from 86.3% in 2022 and 86.9% in 2019.
● Of the 4,564 HCPSS students who entered high school in the fall of 2019-20 (Class of 2023), 92.57% graduated in four years, reflecting a decrease of 0.21 percentage points from 92.78% for the Class of 2019.
● The HCPSS Class of 2023 dropout rate was 4.38%, reflecting a decrease of 0.14 percentage points from 4.53% for the Class of 2019.
● The graduation rate for students with Limited English Proficiency increased by 13.11 percentage points from 47.22% for the Class of 2019 to 60.33% for the Class of 2023.

The graduation rate for Black/African American students increased by 1.56 percentage points from 88.74% for the Class of 2019 to 90.30% for the Class of 2023.

“I am pleased that the data shows that Howard County had a higher percentage of students graduate and a lower percentage of students drop out than the state average and most Maryland districts,” said Board of Education Chair Jennifer Swickard Mallo.

“However,” said Mallo, “as we examine and analyze the graduation rate data, I suspect we will continue to see the impacts of the pandemic and hardships that our students experienced reflected in the numbers. Being focused on student outcomes is at the heart of this Board’s mission and I know this Board is committed to working with our educators and school system leaders to improve graduation rates for our students.”

Additional details on graduation and dropout rates for HCPSS and other Maryland school systems and schools can be found at reportcard.msde.maryland.gov.

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