As a district, Hamilton County Schools improved in every tested subject area on this year's state exams.
On Thursday, the Tennessee Department of Education released district-level averages for its Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, as well as high school end-of-course exams. The data does not include school-level results, only how each school system performed on average.
More Hamilton County students in grades three through eight tested at proficient or advanced levels in reading, math, science and social studies than in previous years, the scores show, while in high school, students saw at least moderate growth in all tested subject areas.
"Across-the-board gains like this are inspiring, and I congratulate educators in Chattanooga on their leading growth," Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said in a statement.
While Hamilton County's scores are on the rise, data show that half the students in third through eighth grades still didn't meet state proficiency standards on reading and math.
In 2012, the number of Hamilton County students reaching proficient or advanced levels increased by 1.1 percentage points in reading and 4.7 percentage points in math. Gains on end-of-course exams for high schools ranged from as little as one-half a percentage point in U.S. history to as much as 6.1 percentage points in Algebra II.
"I think that we're being very focused on what we're doing and focused on student instruction," said Signal Mountain Middle/High School Principal Robin Copp, who was transferred this summer from Sale Creek Middle/High School.
Copp said central office employees have worked very closely with principals over the past several years, helping them improve the teaching in their schools.
Robert Sharpe, assistant superintendent for education and leadership with the school system, pointed to several programs that contributing to the county's growth, including the continued use of a focused math framework for all grades, elementary literacy work and a reading and writing program in middle schools.
"Obviously, we're very excited about the progress," he said. "I think the growth can be directly attributed to the work our school teams are doing around standards. It's just focused work."
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 ...