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Metro Schools’ 2015 graduation rate rises nearly 3 points in 1 year, 20 points in ten years.

Rate skyrockets from 61.9 percent in 2005 to 81.6 percent in 2015

With a 2015 graduation rate of 81.6 percent, Metro Schools continues its sharp upward trajectory in the number of students who are graduating high school prepared for the rigors of college and success in life after high school. The new graduation rate marks an increase of 2.9 percentage points in a single year, handily beating the district’s goal of 80 percent. In the last ten years, the district’s graduation rate has increased 19.7 percentage points, from 61.9 percent in 2005.

n 2011, the Tennessee Department of Education changed the way it calculates the graduation rate, resulting in a drop.

“Our efforts at district-wide improvement are paying off in an extremely important way,” said Chris Henson, interim director of schools. “More students are earning their high school diplomas, and that is our ultimate goal. Most districts don’t lead improvements with high school. Ours are blowing away all expectations and cementing Metro Schools as an example of how to do high school reform right.”

The vast majority of individual high schools – 18 out of 23 – saw increases, with Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School remaining steady at 100 percent.

Click to see a full chart of individual school graduation rates.

2015 reflects the highest graduation rate the district has reached since before 2011, when the Tennessee Department of Education changed the way it calculates the rate. Before 2011, students were given five years and a summer to count as graduating on-time. Now they are given only four years plus a summer. Despite this higher standard, the hard work of Metro teachers, principals, counselors and staff are helping more students graduate on time.

“You can’t underestimate the power of our teachers and principals to change students’ lives,” said Chief Academic Officer Jay Steele. “Our schools have become nimble and responsive places where educators can make individualized decisions for students based on real-time information of what they need at any particular point in the school year. They are getting better and better at tailoring instruction to individual students and meeting the needs of our very diverse student body.”

That diversity is represented in graduation rate gains, as well. Over the last five years, the district as a whole has increased the graduation rate by 5.4 percentage points with several student subgroups improving at an even faster pace. The rates increased significantly for economically disadvantaged students (+7.3 percentage points), students with limited English proficiency (+8.7 percentage points) and Hispanic students (+12.8 percentage points). These rapid gains are helping close the gap between these subgroups and their peers.

Grad Rate Graphs october 2015-page-006 Grad Rate Graphs october 2015-page-007
Grad Rate Graphs october 2015-page-008

The decreases in graduation rates for Asian students and student with disabilities will require close study to determine the root cause and possible solutions. Students who receive a special education diploma or take more than four years and a summer to graduate, as many special education students do, count against the graduation rate.

“Once they reach graduation, students have a world of options available to them, with a focus on college readiness and access,” said Dr. Steele. “With the real-world exploration and experience they gain in Metro high schools through the Academies of Nashville and other programs, students are better prepared to make decisions about where to take their lives. And with dual enrollment, dual credit and advanced placement opportunities, they often head to college already equipped with several class credits.”

Learn more about the advantages Metro students gain for college life in this video, produced through the Academies of Nashville.


Note: A previous version of this post included longitudinal grad rates that were inaccurate. We regret this error and have revised the graphic to reflect the correct rates.