2019 School Accountability
In accordance with Tennessee's accountability system, as well as federal and state law, the Tennessee Department of Education names schools that are excelling as well as those who need additional support.
2018 was the first year the department has implemented its new school accountability system. The new framework is based on multiple indicators, similar to district accountability, and it is built on the principles that poverty is not destiny and the success of each student matters. Given that, in the new model, all schools are able to achieve Reward status, and there is no cap on the number of Reward schools. Reward schools are generally those that are improving in terms of achievement and growth for both all students and student groups.
All school and district designations are pending State Board of Education approval pursuant to T.C.A. § 49-1-602.
Additional information about each of the designations can be found below.
View the Designations
Reward schools are generally those that are improving in terms of achievement and growth for both all students and student groups. These schools are identified annually.
There are some exceptions:
- Schools cannot be Reward if any student group performs in the bottom five percent in the state for any given student group.
- A school cannot be Reward if also designated Priority or in need of Comprehensive Support and Improvement.
In 2018 Tennessee designated the schools most in need of support and improvement as Priority schools. Priority schools are eligible for additional funding and are supported by the department, particularly in developing an evidence-based school improvement plan based on needs assessments and root cause analysis work. Priority school identification occurs at least every three years, and in 2019 schools had their first opportunity to exit the list by meeting specific performance criteria.
Schools were identified in 2018 as Priority for one of two reasons:
- being in the bottom five percent in 2015-16 and 2016-17 AND not meeting the TVAAS safe harbor, which allows schools to not be identified if they are showing high growth, or
- having a graduation rate of less than 67 percent in 2017-18.
*Following state legislation passed in April 2018, no school is identified as a Priority school using 2017-18 TNReady data. However, schools could use data from 2017-18 to exit the Priority list.
Tennessee was required by federal law to include 2017-18 data in determining Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools, which is a new federal designation for schools in need of improvement. 2019 CSI schools include all 2018 Priority schools and 2018 CSI schools. Additionally, CSI schools include all schools in the Achievement School District, regardless of performance. Many Achievement School District schools otherwise do not fall into the bottom five percent. Furthermore, these schools remain eligible for additional funding and will be supported by the department, similar to Priority schools.
*There was significant overlap between the 2018 Priority and 2018 CSI lists.
In 2019 Priority and Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools were able to exit designation status. Please note, per Tennessee’s state ESSA plan, all schools in the Achievement School District are required to be identified as CSI. We recognize these schools' successes and improvements shown in student performance.
Exit Criteria for these designations includes the following:
- exceed 15th percentile for most recent year’s success rate
- exceed 10th percentile for two most recent year’s success rate
- earn TVAAS 4 or 5 in all accountability content areas for two consecutive years
- if identified for graduating less than 67 percent of its students, the school can exit by graduating at least 67 percent of its students in both of the two most recent years.
Tennessee is required by federal law to identify Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) schools. TSI schools are those that fall in the bottom five percent for their weighted overall accountability score for any given student subgroup (i.e. Black/Hispanic/Native American, Economically Disadvantaged, English Learners, or Students with Disabilities) or any given racial or ethnic group (i.e., Hispanic/Latino, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Asian, and White). These schools will be supported by the department and are eligible for additional funding. Additionally, TSI school identification will occur annually.
Tennessee is required by federal law to include 2017-18 data in determining Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) schools, which is a new federal designation for schools that need particular focus on their student group performance. 2018 ATSI schools are the schools with the lowest performance across student groups using 2017-18 data. These schools will be supported by the department and are eligible for additional funding.
There are two paths through which a school could be designated as ATSI:
- overall school accountability score of 1.0 or less on the state’s new accountability framework AND ranks in bottom five percent for at least one accountability student group (i.e., black, Hispanic, and Native American students; economically disadvantaged students; English learners; and students with disabilities), or
- ranks in the bottom five percent for two or more student groups
In the future, ATSI schools will be a portion of the state’s Focus schools, which are the schools that historically Tennessee has designated for need of improvement due to the performance of one or more student groups.