2012 District Accountability

Tennessee adopted a new accountability system in 2012, after securing a waiver from certain portions of No Child Left Behind. Under the new system, Tennessee looks to districts to increase achievement levels for all students and reduce achievement gaps that exist between certain groups.

Rather than expecting all districts to meet the same benchmarks year after year, the system acknowledges that districts are starting from different places and rewards those that show the most growth.

A brief description of the accountability measures and the 2011-12 designations can be found below.

Exemplary Districts:

  • Meet the majority of their achievement targets;
  • Meet majority of their gap closure targets;
  • Ensure every subgroup—students with disabilities, racial minorities, and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds— moves forward in a majority of its target areas.

These three requirements show that districts are raising proficiency levels, narrowing achievement gaps and guaranteeing growth for all students.

The following districts are designated as Exemplary for 2011-12:

  • Blount County Schools
  • Claiborne County Schools
  • Fayette County Schools   
  • Fayetteville Schools
  • Henry County Schools
  • Hollow Rock-Bruceton School District
  • Franklin Special School District
  • Loudon County Schools
  • Marshall County Schools
  • McKenzie Special School District
  • Milan Special School District
  • Newport City Schools
  • Rogersville City Schools
  • Rutherford County Schools
  • Sequatchie County Schools
  • Sevier County Schools
  • Smith County Schools
  • South Carroll County Special School District
  • Sweetwater City Schools
  • Trousdale County Schools
  • Union City Schools

These districts fail to reach the majority of their targets for both achievement and gap closure.

These districts will meet in-person with department officials to set an aggressive, effective plan to meet the goals they missed the year prior.

The following districts are designated In Need of Improvement for 2011-12:

District Reasons
Alamo City*
  • 2 of 4 Achievement AMOs met
  • 3 of 6 Gap Closure AMOs met
  • No subgroup declined in a majority of measures
Richard City
  • 0 of 2 Achievement AMOs met
  • 0 of 2 Gap Closure AMOs met
  • Economically Disadvantaged and White students declined in a majority of measures
Union County
  • 4 of 9 Achievement Targets Met
  • 5 of 8 Gap Closure AMOs Met
  • Economically Disadvantaged and White students declined in a majority of measures

*Note: Because of the size of Alamo City Schools and the line drawn between categories at hitting more than half of goals, Alamo was actually very close to being Exemplary rather than identified as needing improvement. In fact, in overall achievement, the district’s 3-8 math scores (68.1 percent proficient or advanced) were the fourth highest in the state for the 2011-12 school year, and its 3-8 reading scores (66.6 percent proficient or advanced) were the sixth highest in the state.

These districts:

  • May successfully attain their goals in achievement, gap closure or even both, but experience declines among particular groups of students.
  • Focus efforts on ensuring all groups of students show improvement in the following year.

The following districts are designated In Need of Subgroup Improvement for 2011-12:

Districts Subgroup Needing Improvement
Anderson County Students with Disabilities
Bedford County Hispanic
Limited English Proficient
Bradley County Students with Disabilities
Campbell County Economically Disadvantaged
Students with Disabilities
Carter County Students with Disabilities
Cheatham County Black
Students with Disabilities
Cleveland Economically Disadvantaged
Cocke County Students with Disabilities
Coffee County Students with Disabilities
Crockett County Hispanic*
*Failed on percent tested in 3-8 math
*Failed on percent tested in 3-8 Reading
Cumberland County Hispanic
Students with Disabilities
Decatur County Economically Disadvantaged
Dekalb County Students with Disabilities
Dyersburg Hispanic*
*Failed on percent tested in 3-8 Reading
Students with Disabilities
Etowah Economically Disadvantaged
Fentress County Students with Disabilities
Gibson County SSD Black
Students with Disabilities
Greene County Students with Disabilities
Greeneville Hispanic
Grundy County Students with Disabilities
Hamblen County Black
Hancock County Students with Disabilities
Hardeman County Students with Disabilities*
*Failed on percent tested in Algebra I
Hardin County Students with Disabilities
Hawkins County Black
Houston County Students with Disabilities
Humboldt Students with Disabilities
Huntington Black
Kingsport Black
Lawrence County Black
Lebanon Asian
Limited English Proficient
Lenoir City Students with Disabilities
Lexington Students with Disabilities
Macon County Students with Disabilities
Madison County Students with Disabilities
Manchester Black
Maryville Hispanic
Students with Disabilities
Meigs County Students with Disabilities
Memphis Native American
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Economically Disadvantaged*
      *Failed on percent tested in Algebra I
     * Failed on percent tested in English II
Monroe County Black
Murfreesboro Students with Disabilities
Oak Ridge Limited English Proficient
Oneida Students with Disabilities
Paris Students with Disabilities
Pickett County Students with Disabilities
Polk County Students with Disabilities
Scott County Students with Disabilities
Stewart County Students with Disabilities
Trenton Students with Disabilities
Van Buren County Economically Disadvantaged
Washington County Hispanic
Students with Disabilities
Wayne County Students with Disabilities
Weakley County Black
Wilson County Students with Disabilities

Although Tennessee’s accountability system is focused on the district level, we also identify three types of schools as required by the U.S. Department of Education under our ESEA Flexibility Waiver.

  • Reward Schools are made up of the top 5 percent of schools in the state for performance— as measured by overall student achievement levels—and the top 5 percent for year-over- year progress—as measured by growth in student achievement. These 10 percent of schools receive recognition for their success, and we aim to learn from their successes. Reward Schools are identified every year based on the previous school year’s results.
  • Priority Schools are schools in the bottom 5 percent of the state in overall performance. These schools will receive one of four types of supports:
    • Placement in the state-run Achievement School District
    • Turnaround through a district-led Innovation Zone
    • Turnaround through an approved School Improvement Grant model and plan
    • District-led school improvement planning processes, subject to direct ASD intervention in the absence of improved results
  • Focus Schools are the 10 percent of schools across the state with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students. This designation does not indicate low overall achievement levels. In fact, Focus Schools may be high-performing schools that are working to close gaps between groups of students.

Reward, Priority, and Focus lists were first identified in summer 2012, as part of Tennessee’s approved ESEA Flexibility waiver. Reward Schools are named each year, based on the results from the immediate prior school year. Priority and Focus designations last for three years, so the 2012 Priority and Focus Schools will remain in that status through the 2014-15 school year. The new set of 2015 Priority and Focus Schools are being identified in summer 2014 to allow for a one-year planning period before beginning their interventions in 2015-16.