published Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Hamilton County Schools show gains on report card


The report card for Hamilton County is available at this link.

For other counties, go to this link, select the "System" button and choose the school system for which you would like to see results.



• Below basic: 25.8 percent, 2010; 20 percent, 2011

• Basic: 36.5 percent, 2010; 35.1 percent, 2011

• Proficient: 23.7 percent, 2010; 28.1 percent, 2011

• Advanced: 14 percent, 2010; 16.4 percent. 2011


• Below basic: 14 percent, 2010; 13 percent, 2011

• Basic: 37.6 percent, 2010; 36.2 percent, 2011

• Proficient: 35.9 percent, 2010; 37.5 percent, 2011

• Advanced: 12.5 percent, 2010; 13.7 percent, 2011



• Below basic: 14.1 percent, 2010; 21 percent, 2011

• Basic: 18.6 percent, 2010; 26.2 percent, 2011

• Proficient: 29.5 percent, 2010; 29.5 percent, 2011

• Advanced: 37.8 percent, 2010; 23.5 percent, 2011


• Below basic: 9.5 percent, 2010; 10 percent, 2011

• Basic: 22.1 percent, 2010; 23.1 percent, 2011

• Proficient: 51.6 percent, 2010; 51.6 percent, 2011

• Advanced: 16.8 percent, 2010; 15.6 percent, 2011

Source: Tennessee Department of Education

Hamilton County Schools improved its graduation rate, along with elementary test scores for reading, math, science and social studies, but high school test scores are down, according to the latest state report card.

The county's overall graduation rate increased to 81.7 percent, up from 80.2 percent in 2010 and 70.9 percent in 2009.

In Hamilton County, third through eighth-grade state test scores improved by:

• 3.9 percent in reading/language arts with 45.7 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced, the two highest ratings.

• 6.9 percent in math with 44.1 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced.

• 4 percent in science with 52.5 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced.

• 1.5 percent in social studies with 78.5 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced.

The state switched to tougher academic standards and tests during the 2008-09 school year and Kirk Kelley, Hamilton County's director of testing and accountability, said teachers and administrators are becoming more familiar with the new standards and are better equipped to teach at a higher level.

That's supported by the state's most recent release of elementary school data, he said.

"Scores are up," Kelley said. "That part we're pleased with."

But improvement isn't enough. Kelley said the district will put a heavy emphasis on literacy and science in coming years. And he expects scores to continue to improve annually.

"I'm optimistic that we should see gains anywhere from 3 to 5 percent," he said.

This year's report card shows dips in local high school math and reading scores. While 67 percent of students scored proficient or advanced in 2010, only 60 percent had the same high scores in 2011. Reading scores dropped slightly with 67 percent of students scoring in the top two categories. In 2010, 68 percent scored proficient or advanced.

But some high schools, such as Howard School of Academics and Technology, saw big gains.

The school's graduation rate increased by nearly 20 percent to 88.3 percent, up from 68.6 percent a year ago. In 2007, the figure was 47.4 percent.

"It's phenomenal the stuff Howard has done," Kelley said. "That is unbelievable."

In 2010, 47 percent of Howard students scored below basic on state math tests, in 2011 the number shrank to 18 percent. Now, 40 percent of students are scoring proficient or advanced in math, up 16 points from 2010's 24 percent.

Howard students also scored higher in reading, bumping the percentage of students scoring in the two highest categories to 45 percent, up from last year's 40 percent.

Executive Principal Paul Smith said school leaders were pleased with the recent progress. But he said he won't be satisfied until the students are graduating and scoring proficient at 100 percent.

"We're excited about the progress that we've made," he said. "But we haven't planted our flag on the moon yet. We realize we have a lot of progress yet to make."

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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Humphrey said...

Awesome! Great news.

December 3, 2011 at 5:36 p.m.
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