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Anne Arundel County graduation rates dip slightly despite 11 of 14 high schools boasting rates of at least 90%

Anne Arundel County graduation rates dip slightly despite 11 of 14 high schools boasting rates of at least 90%

Eleven of Anne Arundel County’s 14 high schools had four-year graduation rates of at least 90% for students in the Class of 2023, according to data released Tuesday by the Maryland State Department of Education, a five-year high.

While those trends are a positive, the country’s overall graduation rate declined by one percentage point from 88% to 87%.

“I take a lot of pride in making sure kids graduate from this school district on time and are college and career ready,” Superintendent of Schools Mark Bedell said in a news release.  “While I am pleased that nearly 75% of our schools have a graduation rate above 90%, we will not settle until all of our schools reach a 100% graduation rate. We have some bright spots in our data but for many reasons, we also expected the slight dip we saw in the overall graduation rate.”

The 11 high schools that are graduating at least 9 of every 10 students are Arundel, Broadneck, Chesapeake, Chesapeake Science Point, Crofton, Northeast, Old Mill, Severna Park, South River, Southern and AACPS Virtual Academy.

Glen Burnie High School came in at 88%, up from 85% in 2022, the biggest gain among county schools. Meade High School ended down three percentage points from 2022 and North County High School dropped five percentage points. Both schools posted 2023 graduation rates of 78%.

Northeast High School’s rate rose by just over three percentage points from 87.3% to 90.4%.

There were significant increases among several student groups. The graduation rate for homeless students rose by seven percentage points from 65% to 72%; English Language Learners increased by 3.7 points, going from 52% to 55%. The rate for economically disadvantaged students went up by 3.25 percentage points, from 79.75% to 83%. .

The graduation rate for Black students dropped from 86% to 84% in 2023, while the rate for Hispanic/Latino students went from 76% to 75%.

Improvement  was noted among American Indian/Native students, who graduated at a rate of 78%, up from 71% the previous year. Asian students went from 95% to 97%. White students’ graduation rate stayed the same at 92%.

The county’s overall four-year cohort graduation rate came in at 87.68% for the class of 2023, which is two points higher than the state average of 85.8%.

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.

Bedell said the numbers speak to the roller-coaster educational journey the Class of 2023 endured to get to graduation day.

“These students only had about 70% of their freshman year before COVID shut everything down,” he said. “Then they spent an entire school year online before coming back in person for a still-abnormal junior year. Only their senior year was even close to traditional, and we experienced a significantly detrimental rate of chronic absenteeism and transportation difficulties a year ago.”

Project Graduation is an initiative started by the county last summer that provides open-ended, student-centered, credit recovery options to build more opportunities for second-chance learning. The data from the Class of 2022 prompted this initiative to focus on the individual needs of students in grades 9 through 12. The mission was to bring together central office leadership, high school leadership teams, counselors and teachers to assess student progress toward on-time graduation and to provide real-time interventions and supports as necessary. Particular attention is being focused on schools with the lowest graduation rates.

“Our data showed a decrease was likely, especially with the increased number of students who left our system or experienced unexpected mobility during and after COVID,” Bedell said in a news release. “What we’re doing now will bear fruit with respect to future classes. This is about responding to our data. This is methodical and well thought out.”


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