published Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Tennessee releases revamped school report card


Below is the graduation rate and percentage of students eligible for the Tennessee Hope Scholarship in regional school systems:

* Bledsoe County -- 89.6 percent/31.4 percent

* Bradley County -- 89.8 percent/27.5 percent

* Cleveland City -- 85.8 percent/39.9 percent

* Grundy County -- 81 percent/26.3 percent

* Marion County -- 80.5 percent/37.2 percent

* McMinn County -- 92 percent/34.7 percent

* Meigs County -- 95.6 percent/27 percent

* Polk County -- 90. 3 percent/33 percent

* Rhea County -- 80.5 percent/35 percent

* Sequatchie County -- 84 percent/40.4 percent

Source: 2013 Tennessee State Report Card

Hamilton County Schools improved graduation rates this year, though data show only about a third of graduates were eligible for state-funded college scholarships.

The Tennessee Department of Education released the 2013 Report Card, which shows an array of information -- from graduation rates to test scores to school spending

The county's graduation rate, which measures how many ninth-graders finish high school within four years, improved from 81.2 percent last year to 84.5 percent in 2013.

New this year, the report card shows how many students are eligible for Tennessee's HOPE Scholarship for in-state colleges and universities. That figure showed about a third of Hamilton County's graduates were HOPE-eligible, though some schools had more than double that rate.

State officials say the newly redesigned report card is targeted toward parents, who may be considering which schools their students will attend. The revamped site includes a new comparison tool so parents can study results from different schools or districts side by side. Overall, this version of school results is more visual and less data-centric, said Erin O'Hara, assistant commissioner for data and research at the Tennessee Department of Education.

"We're using more graphs, more color to present things," she said. "We're using more pictorial representations of data rather than just tables."

Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith said parents are already savvy at looking up school achievement and test results to compare one school to another.

"If they don't have the data, they'll talk to other parents and parents will tell them what's going on," Smith said. "Parents are always comparing something."

Contact staff writer Kevin Hardy at or 423-757-6249.

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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