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Program Completion of Students with Disabilities

The percentage of students with disabilities, ages 14 through 21, who graduate or complete school.

Maryland Students with Disabilities who Graduated with Diploma or Certificate, by Academic Year
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Graduated with Diploma 35.0% 35.0% 36.5% 36.7% 40.9% 40.3% 38.0% 41.3% 42.1%
Graduated with Certificate 5.4% 5.4% 6.3% 6.5% 6.6% 6.7% 7.1% 8.6% 6.7%

Data Source:  Unpublished data provided by the Maryland State Department of Education (State totals include students in non- jurisdictional agency placements).

Story Behind the Data:

Students with disabilities who received a diploma increased by 4.09 percentage points from 37.96% in 2012 to 42.09% in 2014, and the percentage of students who received a certificate decreased by 1.89 percentage points from 8.57% in 2013 to 6.68% in 2014.  Using the Maryland Report Card data, the 2014 graduation rate yielded a 1.4 percentage point increase for all students compared to a 3.4 percentage point increase for students with disabilities, therefore narrowing the achievement gap for students with disabilities and their nondisabled peers.

Several factors have directly contributed to the recent increase in the number of students with disabilities who received a high school diploma.  Maryland is continuing to build, implement, and sustain special education and related services with evidence-based practices that will yield results in dropout prevention, re-entry, and school completion for these students.  The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is sensitive to myriad social, emotional and physical challenges often faced by students with disabilities, which if not addressed, can have an adverse impact on the dropout, truancy and suspension rates among this population.

Maryland is one of 48 states currently engaged in a diverse number of targeted, evidence-based interventions to improve graduation/school completion rates for  all students, such as: Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, Universal Design for Learning, mentoring programs, transition supports, and recovery and re-entry programs.

In an effort to enhance the quality of life for students with disabilities and their families, MSDE, Division of Special Education and Early Intervention Services, launched a five-year strategic plan through January 2018.  Focused on three strategic imperatives , the strategic plan is designed to advance the Division’s overarching vision to narrow the gap for all children with disabilities from birth through age 21.

In addition, Maryland’s students have benefited greatly from two federal grants that were awarded to MSDE by the U.S. Department of Education.  The Schoolwide Integrated Framework for Transformation (SWIFT) (2013) and the State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) (2013) awards have allowed MSDE to create a number of new initiatives to facilitate school improvement and reform efforts at the State and local school system level.

The Division of Special Education and Early Intervention Services provides a wide range of technical assistance to local school systems, public agencies, families and key stakeholders which includes:

  • Supporting the local school systems and public agencies with funding to support their identified priorities.
  • Developing and expanding the capacity to collect and analyze data to improve teaching and learning.
  • Providing system wide professional learning opportunities for all teachers focusing on multi-tiered systems of support and using results driven decision making to implement evidence based strategies to narrow the achievement gap for students with disabilities.
  • Providing ongoing technical assistance through professional learning communities and strong interagency collaboration to ensure that students with disabilities are college and career ready.
  • Expanding the availability and array of inclusive placement options for preschool age students with disabilities by developing the capacity of public and private preschool programs to serve this population of children.