TDOE Releases 2020-21 Graduation Rate Data

Tuesday, November 23, 2021 | 10:28am


Nearly 40 Districts Improved Graduation Rates

Nashville, TN—This week, the Tennessee Department of Education released the graduation rate for the 2020-21 school year. Of the 2020-21 cohort, 88.7% of students graduated on time this year compared to 89.6% last year, 37 districts improved their graduation rates, and 37 districts graduated 95% or more of their cohorts.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spanned the entirety of the 2020-21 academic year, the department offered several interventions to mitigate learning loss and provide necessary student supports to ensure they were prepared for graduation and postsecondary success, such as summer programming, free ACT prep workshops, and AP Access for All.

“Our state remains committed to swift and urgent action to mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on our students,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “The department was prepared for the negative impacts of the pandemic on our statewide graduation rate, but we are confident that with the right investment and the partnership and dedication of our districts and schools, we can resume the upward trajectory in graduation rate and ensure we are preparing Tennessee students for success.” 

Access the 2020-21 graduation rate data here

While several districts saw gains in their graduation rate, Tennessee’s statewide graduation rate declined compared to last year. For the 2020-21 school year, the most notable takeaways in the state are:  

  • Jackson County, Lewis County, and Tennessee School for the Deaf improved their graduation rate by 5 percentage points or more
  • 37 districts graduated 95% or more of their cohorts
  • 37 districts improved their graduation rates from 2020 to 2021
  • 34 districts improved the Students with Disabilities subgroup by 5 percentage points or more
  • 88.7% of the 2021 graduation cohort graduated on time with a regular diploma, which is lower than last year
  • 1,231 fewer students graduated in the 2021 cohort compared to last year, for a total of 63,283

"It is essential we are utilizing all of our resources to ensure our students are graduating on-time and prepared for any postsecondary opportunity they are pursuing,” said Dr. Jonathan Kee, Director of Schools, Huntingdon Special School District. “Our staff have worked tirelessly to truly know who our students are, what they dream of being, and exhausting all efforts to equip them to be ready once they graduate."

“Across the schools in our district, our educators and staff are dedicated to ensuring that our students are prepared for graduation and postsecondary success, whatever path they choose once they leave our classrooms,” said Tim Haney, Director of Schools, Trenton Special School District. “This is exemplified by the proven history of high graduation rates over the past 38 years and counting that our district continues to see and we are dedicated to providing our students with the needed supports to graduate and succeed in the future.”

For more information on graduation rates for individual districts and schools, please visit the department’s Data Downloads webpage.  

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact