- Associated Press - Friday, February 17, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Department of Education has clarified its findings in a recent report that found one in three high school students graduated without meeting the state’s requirements.

The report prompted backlash from superintendents across the state. The department said in a memo Thursday that it didn’t do enough to provide a proper context behind the numbers, the Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/2l0gHwZ ) reported.

The original report, released in January, said that in 28 percent of public high schools, more than half of the graduates in 2015 didn’t meet all of their specific course requirements. The majority of the students listed in the report were missing two required foreign language credits or specific social studies requirements.

According to the new analysis, the state found no systematic violation of graduation requirements happening in the state. It also said there were valid reasons why a third of its students weren’t meeting certain requirements, including incorrect course-code entry, waivers for course requirements and human error.

“The one third of students who did not show as having met graduation requirements were spread equally across the three categories, each at approximately 11 percent of the total number of graduates,” Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said in an email. “So, about 11 percent of students were accounted for in data entry error, about 11 percent received a waiver, and about 11 percent missed the course or substituted an unapproved course for some reason.”

The updated findings provide some redemption for Tennessee’s superintendents after serious questions arose over whether districts were allowing a third of students to graduate without proper credits. The course code and waiver issues were among the arguments superintendents made when the report was released.

“Many of us were disappointed not to get the opportunity to reconcile any disputes before (the report) was published,” said Bristol Tennessee City Schools director Gary Lilly.


Information from: The Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com

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