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Find the Missing MCPS Seniors

In tracking graduates, MCPS fails to track outcomes for large proportions of seniors.


Montgomery County Public Schools just released a new report on college facts for MCPS high school graduates.

The report is full of interesting facts. Here’s a sample:

  • “From 2001 to 2010, 65,810 of 94,232 MCPS graduate (70 percent) went to college in the fall immediately after high school…”
  • “From 2001 to 2009, 17,203 MCPS African-American students graduated from high school. Among them, 10,846 (63 percent) went to college within the first year after high school.”
  • “Based on data available for the nation and Maryland for 2001-2003 graduates who enrolled in the fall full time, 67-68 percent of MCPS enrollees earned a bachelor’s degree or higher within six years, compared with 56% in the nation and 64-65 percent in Maryland.”

This is not the first time MCPS released college facts for MCPS seniors. And when previous reports were issued several years ago, I praised MCPS for tracking its graduates through college competition. With that said, however, I will repeat a suggestion made previously: 

MCPS needs to not just track graduates who enter college but it also must track graduates who for some reason do not end up in college.

If one takes the time to carefully review the numbers presented in the most recent MCPS report, they will discover that outcome data for a lot of MCPS seniors is missing. Here is some of what is missing:

  • Overall, between 2001 and 2010, MCPS graduated 94,232 seniors. The current MCPS report tracks college outcomes for 65,810 seniors or 70 percent. That leaves us not knowing anything about 28,422 seniors, or 30 percent. That is a lot of missing seniors!
  • Missing outcome data for black and Hispanic seniors is a lot higher than the overall 30 percent noted above. More than 40 percent of the black seniors are missing—not tracked, and 51 percent of the Hispanic seniors are missing—not tracked. That is a lot of missing black and Hispanic seniors!

Tracking the seniors who are not entering college is not without costs, but I believe it is money that MCPS must spend. And there is a solid and proven model developed by the federal government—called High School and Beyond—that is worthy of adaptation.

Click here to read about the federal government's effort.

The beauty of High School and Beyond is it tracks all high school graduates, including dropouts who are identified prior to high school graduation.

In the end, adopting a High School and Beyond study or model would allow MCPS to understand what happens to all of its seniors, including those who unfortunately do not earn their high school diploma. It is nice to know large numbers of MCPS seniors enter college, persist and eventually earn a college degree. However, it also would be enlightening to know what happens to that rather large slice of MCPS seniors who do not immediately enter college or who may never enter college at all.

We deserve to know more about what is going on with the lives all seniors.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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