published Friday, January 7th, 2011, updated Jan. 7th, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.

Hamilton gets C's on school report card but graduation rate rises


by Kelli Gauthier

Hamilton County got C’s for the second year in a row in the state’s annual Report Card but county schools officials touted a 13 percent rise in graduation rates.

Hamilton County received Cs in academic achievement and three Ds and one B in student academic progress, according to a news release from the county schools. The graduation rate increased to 80.2%, and Ooltewah High School made AYP, so it comes off the High Priority List, the release stated.

The Tennessee Department of Education report gives detailed information on how school systems across the state performed on standardized tests.

The way the state calibrated test scores changed dramatically in 2009 as the Tennessee implemented higher standards this year. Academic Achievement grades are based on a bell curve for the last three years.

“As this is the first year where the higher standards are being measured, we were expecting this drop in the percentage of students who scored proficient and advanced,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Scales. “However, we made amazing strides in increasing our graduation rate, decreasing suspensions and maintaining positive attendance, all major hurdles for the district in the past.”

Key results in the 2010 Report Card include:

• The District’s graduation rate jumped 13% to 80.2%.

• Students continued to demonstrate strong writing skills scoring 4.1 to 4.2 out of 6

• Dropout rate declined 30% from 19.1% to 13.5%.

• Academic Achievement scores for Grades 3-8 were all Cs (same as the state).

• ACT composite scores dipped to 18.6.

• The District K-8 attendance held steady at 94.9% with the high schools climbing to 92.2%.

• The percentage of 3-8 students scoring proficient and advanced in reading was 48%.

• The percentage of 3-8 students scoring proficient and advanced in math was 38%.

Still, Hamilton County is in “target” status under provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, for failing to make Adequate Yearly Progress.

AYP, which typically is released in August, also was released today with the report card, which usually comes out in November.

See Saturday’s Times Free Press for complete coverage.

about Kelli Gauthier...

Kelli Gauthier covers K-12 education in Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She started at the paper as an intern in 2006, crisscrossing the region writing feature stories from Pikeville, Tenn., to Lafayette, Ga. She also covered crime and courts before taking over the education beat in 2007. A native of Frederick, Md., Kelli came south to attend Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Before newspapers, ...

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Humphrey said...

they recalibrated the scoring this year.

January 7, 2011 at 1:56 p.m.
bapman1 said...

This year's report card reflects a big change in reporting; under the old reporting standards, Tennessee received an "F" in Truth in Advertising from the US Chamber, and the current stats are a fairer reflection of how students are doing. So that's a plus. Now that we have more accurate information, the question has to be - why are we performing so poorly, and what can we do to improve? And that's where we need to look at things like teacher preparation, effective instructional models, and value-added reporting. People can get a start on all three areas at www.education-consumers.org.>

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