Tennessee high school graduation rate reaches highest on record

WATE 6 On Your Side Staff - NASHVILLE (WATE) - Governor Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced Thursday the 2016-17 high school graduation rate is the highest on record for Tennessee at 89.1 percent.

The graduation rate has increased 3.6 percent since the 2010-11 school year, and this year the rate increased nearly 56 percent in districts with high schools. The Haslam administration set high expectations for Tennessee students and educators, with students showing results. "Teachers and educators in Tennessee have worked tirelessly to support students and these record graduation rates show their hard work is making a difference," Haslam said. "The graduation rate is reflective of the many gains we are making in education in out state."

This year, the most notable gains include:

  • Improved graduation rates by 5 percent or more in 13 districts. Lake County had the most gain with 23.1 percentage points.
  • Graduation rates of 95 percent or above in 43 districts, about one quarter of districts in the state, up from 36 districts last year.
  • The graduation rate for students who identify as Black, Hispanic, or Native American has increased by 0.4 percent to 83 percent. A three year high.

"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," McQueen said. "Now we must focus on ensuring students are full 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."

Part of the plan for Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), includes a new tool known as the Ready Graduate indicator. The indicator will measure the number of graduates that have met benchmarks proven to increase their chances at enrolling in post secondary education and entering the workforce or military.

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