Tennessee graduation rate continues to rise

Published 11:21 am Wednesday, September 18, 2019

NASHVILLE — Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn announced that the graduation rate for the 2018-19 school calendar year was 89.7 percent. Not only is that more than half a percentage point higher than the previous year, but it’s the highest graduation rate on record for Tennessee. That translates into an increase of 183 graduates statewide.

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn says, “While this is certainly something to celebrate, I know we can do even better! Ultimately, I would like to see all 130 districts that serve high school students have a 90 percent graduation or better. That’s something my team will be very focused on over the next four years, along with making sure those students have a career or college path in mind the day they walk across the stage to get that diploma.” 

Tennessee has set high expectations for both students and educators, and students have made significant gains as a result. As part of this work, the state transitioned to a more rigorous calculation for graduation rates in 2011, and even under the new criteria, rates have continued to rise.

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For the 2018-19 school year, the most notable gains and overall achievements in the state are:

• 67 districts improved their graduation rates from 2018 to 2019, with four of those districts improving by five percentage points or more. Districts with significant gains included Tennessee School for the Deaf (29 percentage points), Lewis County (10 percentage points), Hancock County (7 points), and Trousdale County (6 points).

• 49 districts — more than a third statewide — have graduation rates at or above 95 percent, which is an increase from last year.

• Four districts had a graduation rate of 100 percent, including Huntingdon Special School District, South Carroll, Bradford, and Oneida.

• 32 schools had graduation rates of 100 percent.