Tennessee High School Graduation Rate Reaches Highest Rate On Record

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Governor Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced Thursday that the 2016-17 graduation rate of 89.1 percent is the highest on record for Tennessee. The statewide graduation rate is up more than half a percentage point since last year, and overall it has increased 3.6 percent since the 2010-11 school year. This year, graduation rates increased in nearly 56 percent of districts with high schools.

“Teachers and educators in Tennessee have worked tirelessly to support students and these record graduation rates show their hard work is making a difference,” Governor Haslam said. “As more students graduate from high school, we are committed to helping them go to college, succeed and become skilled members of Tennessee’s workforce.
The graduation rate is reflective of the many gains we are making in education in our state.”

Officials said under the Haslam administration, Tennessee has set high expectations for both students and educators, and students have made significant gains as a result. The state transitioned to a more rigorous calculation for graduation rates in 2011, and even under the new criteria, rates have continued to rise. This year, the most notable gains and overall achievements include:
•         13 districts improved graduation rates by 5 percentage points or more. The district with the most significant gains was Lake County, up 23.1 percentage points.
•         43 districts—about one-quarter of the districts in the state—have graduation rates at or above 95 percent, up from 36 districts last year. 
•         The group of students who identify as Black, Hispanic or Native American increased its graduation rate by 0.4 percentage points to 83 percent, which is a three-year high.
 
Additionally, the Achievement School District (ASD) had the third largest gain of any district,  up 12.8 percentage points. "This historic growth for the district furthers the goals of the ASD as it creates urgency on improving education for all students, particularly those in schools in the bottom five percent of the state for academic performance," officials said. 

“Teachers and students across the state should be proud of their hard work, and it is always encouraging to see that more students than ever are earning high school diplomas,” Comm. McQueen said. “Now we must focus on ensuring students are fully prepared for the academic and professional opportunities that come after high school graduation, so graduates can truly use their diplomas to seamlessly move into their next step.”

As part of the state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Department of Education has created an accountability metric known as the Ready Graduate indicator.  This tool will measure the percentage of graduates who have met benchmarks proven to increase their probability of seamlessly enrolling in post-secondary education and entering the workforce or military. 
 
More information on graduation rates for individual districts and schools is available on the Tennessee Department of Education’s website. For media inquiries regarding the graduation rates, contact Sara Gast at 615-532-6260 or Sara.Gast@tn.gov.

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