Tenn. school report cards show improvement across board - WKRN News 2

Tenn. school report cards show improvement across board

Posted: Updated: Nov 1, 2012 04:47 PM

Public schools across Tennessee received state report cards Thursday that showed mostly good news.
Highlights included increasing graduation rates and slightly higher test results showing year-to-year growth.
Few places though had good news like Williamson County.

The often well-to-do students there have long done well on state reports cards, but it's sometimes been tough to show improvement from their usual "A" grade.

Scores from last school year are different

"Not only are we a very high achieving school district, but we are making significant gains," Schools Director Mike Looney told reporters.

For example, Williamson got a "D" in 2011 for academic growth in science grades Kindergarten through eighth grade.

For the 2102 year which ended in the spring, it was a "B."

The schools director lauds teachers first, and new science books second for the increase.

"For a couple of years there, we were in a budget crunch and the district was not able to provide science books to all students," said Looney.

Math growth in the state report card went from a "C" to an "A" for 2011 to 2012.

Better understanding of new standards and another seemingly simple solution are credited.

"Beginning last year we started using math coaches in our elementary school buildings," added the schools director.

Statewide, Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said in a statement that "Tennessee is focused on continuous growth, and our Report Card shows us where we are making gains and where we need more work."

The report also indicated nearly every district in the state grew student achievement overall, but many did not successfully narrow achievement gaps or saw declines among particular student subgroups.

Nashville mirrored the state in many of the categories graded.

Metro schools director Jesse Register points to things like increasing graduation rates as a highlight of its 2012 state report card.

The rate was up more than two points from last year to 78.4% from 76.2%, even though Metro has a significant number of English as a second language students who sometimes take longer to graduate

"Twenty nine percent of all English learners in the state are in Metro-Nashville Public Schools and it does have an impact on our graduation rate."

The Metro score card was scattered with "C's" in areas like grades third through eight achievement, but that's up from the "D's" of previous years.

"We want to pick up speed, but we feel our trend lines are moving in the right direction," Register told reporters Thursday afternoon.

Much of the achievement and accountability data was released in July which showed growth in most subgroups of students.

Those figure put Metro schools in a middle of the road category called intermediate.

"We are generally very pleased that our students are moving up, we still feel we have a long way to go," added Register.

"It's an assessment that could be said for much of Tennessee.

Click here for the complete 2012 state report card.

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