Washington County graduation rates trend up, while Maryland as a state goes down

26 March 2024- As a pandemic bounce-back was expected by many people when it comes to education, it doesn’t seem like has taken hold in Maryland. The good news, however, is the numbers are trending up locally in Washington County.

Over 90% WCPS students who entered the ninth grade in the 2019-2020 school year received their diplomas in the spring of 2023. According to data released by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the four-year 2023 cohort graduation rate for WCPS students was 90.8%. That compares to Maryland’s statewide four-year 2023 cohort graduation rate of 85.8% and maintains consistency with the WCPS 2022 four-year cohort graduation rate.

WCPS Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Sovine says, “Having more than 90% of students graduate from high school within four years of entering the ninth grade is a positive accomplishment, which reflects the dedication of our students as well as their teachers and others who provide the supports necessary to help each student succeed. The students in the 2023 cohort had their high school experience greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they persevered through virtual learning, transitioned back to in-person learning, and successfully completed their high school studies. There is still room for us to grow in ensuring all students earn a high school diploma, and WCPS continues to make progress.”

Statewide, the four-year 2023 cohort graduation rate was 85.8%, down from 86.3% in the prior year. Students in the 2023 cohort entered ninth grade in the 2019-2020 school year and a critical portion of their high school experience was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting in the spring of 2020, this cohort of students experienced primarily virtual learning methods, until they returned to in-person learning in their 11th grade. 

“Maryland’s students are among the best and brightest in the world and while our graduation rates are good, they can be better,” said Interim State Superintendent Carey M. Wright. “We have an opportunity to build upon our education system’s strong foundation to achieve the equitable and successful outcomes we want for all students.” 

For most student groups, the 2023 four-year cohort graduation rates remained stable as compared to the 2022 cohort rate. An exception was the graduation rate for economically disadvantaged students, which increased from 75.7% in the 2021-2022 school year to 80.8% in the 2022-2023 school year. In addition, the four-year cohort graduation rate increased slightly for Black/African American students, reaching 84.7% in the 2022-2023 school year, up from 84% in the prior year.  

Data on Maryland’s four-year and five-year cohort graduation rates, as well as the four-year cohort dropout rate, for the State as a whole, local education agencies, and individual high schools can be found on the Maryland Report Card website, at MDReportcard.org