District and School Accountability
Districts are measured on their abilities to raise overall achievement and close gaps between groups of students.
Districts reach Exemplary status for raising proficiency levels, narrowing achievement gaps and guaranteeing growth for all students.
Districts may have an Intermediate status if they meet expectations in achievement but not in gap closure or vice versa.
Districts that fail to reach the majority of their targets for both achievement and gap closure are In Need of Improvement. These districts will meet in-person with department officials to set an aggressive, effective plan to meet the goals they missed the year prior.
Districts may successfully attain their goals in achievement, gap closure or even both, while experiencing declines among particular groups of students. These districts are designated In Need of Subgroup Improvement.
In accordance with Tennessee’s new accountability system, designed through the state’s waiver from No Child Left Behind, the Tennessee Department of Education names Reward, Priority and Focus schools.
Reward Schools are 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 schoolwide value-added data. These 10 percent of schools receive recognition for their success under the accountability system.
Priority Schools are the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools in Tennessee, in terms of academic achievement. These 83 schools are eligible for inclusion in the Achievement School District or in district Innovation Zones. They may also plan and adopt turnaround models for school improvement.
Focus Schools are the 10 percent of schools in the state with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students, such as racial and ethnic groups, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, students with disabilities and English-language learners. The department has named 167 schools as Focus Schools.
Learn more about Tennessee’s new accountability system.