Tennessee hits highest graduation rate for second year in a row

Oct. 1, 2018


Tennessee’s graduation rate held steady year over year, maintaining the record rate of 89.1 percent that was recorded last school year.

In Middle Tennessee, Nashville public schools posted a similar graduation rate from the previous year while Williamson County Schools posted one of its highest graduation rates in several years.

Overall, more than 56 percent of districts with high schools saw their graduation rates improve compared with last year’s rates, according to the Tennessee Department of Education.

“Our schools and districts should be proud that once again we have hit our state’s highest graduation rate on record while still holding our students to high expectations,” said Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen. “By continuing to raise the expectations, we are signaling that Tennessee students are leaving high school with the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and the workforce. This graduation rate is a testament to the work being done by teachers and students in schools across the state.”

The majority of the districts statewide — 106 districts — posted graduation rates above 90 percent, according to the Education Department.

Tennessee calculates its graduation rates by the number of students who graduate in four years plus a summer. The state put into place harder standards for graduation in 2011 under the Gov. Bill Haslam administration.

The number of students completing high school has slowly risen since the 2011 year, when the state posted an 86 percent graduation rate.

Tennessee students, as of the 2018 graduation year, were required to participate in the ACT or SAT to graduate.

Nashville and Williamson schools

Metro Nashville Public Schools’ graduation rate fell slightly, with the district posting an 80.2 percent graduation rate.

That was down from 80.3 percent in the 2016-17 school year.

The district’s graduation rate also hit a three-year low. The district’s graduation rate in the 2015-16 school year hit 81 percent before dipping almost a full percentage point.

Nashville public schools spokeswoman Dawn Rutledge didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Williamson County Schools’ 95.9 percent graduation rate in 2018 was the highest since the 2011 requirements were put in place.

“I am proud of the students, parents, teachers, staff and school board members who continue to make graduating from high school a priority,” said Mike Looney, WCS superintendent.


Middle Tennessee graduation rates

Cheatham County Schools

2017-18: 91.1

2016-17: 89.9

2015-16: 91.9  

Clarksville-Montgomery County School System 

2017-18: 94.2

2016-17: 95.1

2015-16: 94.8 

Metro Nashville Public Schools

2017-18: 80.2

2016-17: 80.3

2015-16: 81.0

Robertson County Schools

2017-18: 94.5 

2016-17: 96.9 

2015-16: 94.4 

Rutherford County Schools 

2017-18: 95.6

2016-17: 95.3 

2015-16: 95.2

Sumner County Schools 

2017-18: 94.3

2016-17: 94.7 

2015-16: 92.2 

Williamson County Schools 

2017-18: 95.9

2016-17: 95.6 

2015-16: 95.5 

Wilson County Schools 

2017-18: 95.6

2016-17: 96.2

2015-16: 95.1

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