A new report says Tennessee has a low graduation rate, but lofty goals for improving it.
Yesterday, Education Week released a report detailing public school graduation rates and related policies for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Using a new formula, the study found that just over 62-percent of Tennessee ninth graders go on to graduate high school. The national average is 70-percent.
The report also noted the graduation rate goals that states have set for themselves under No Child Left Behind. Schools and districts must achieve those goals or make adequate yearly progress, which is also defined by individual states. Each state is working up to a final target, which must be in place by 2014. The national average for that goal is an 82-percent graduation rate. But Tennessee is shooting for 100-percent.
Education Week Research Director Chris Swanson says only a handful of states have set the bar that high. But he says the goal is tempered by other policy.
“Even though Tennessee has set a 100-percent graduation rate, it’s also one of the states that allows any amount of improvement to count as making Adequate Yearly Progress. So you could be a district that has a 20 percent graduation, 21 percent the next year, 22 percent, I think you see where this is going, and you’d be making AYP every year because you’re making some amount of improvement even though you have way, way, way far to go to get to the 100%.”
The report also focused on graduation rates of various demographic groups in every state except Tennessee. Swanson says it wasn’t included in the study because Tennessee is the only state that does not report that information to the federal government.