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Tennessee makes big jump in high school graduates

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Ooltewah High School seniors say the Pledge of Allegiance during their May graduation ceremony at Memorial Auditorium. /Allison Carter /Chattanooga Times Free Press. Ooltewah High School seniors say the Pledge of Allegiance during their May graduation ceremony at Memorial Auditorium. /Allison Carter /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - In the national race to raise high school graduation rates, Tennessee and Georgia have posted some of the best and worst numbers in the nation, respectively.

Tennessee's graduation rate increased by 20 percentage points between 1998 and 2008 — a bigger improvement than any state in the country, according to the Diplomas Count report, released this week by Editorial Projects in Education. The state's 2008 graduation rate of 76.9 percent put the Volunteer State 14th in the nation, the report stated.

Meanwhile, Georgia's 2008 graduation rate of 58.8 percent landed it at 47th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.

"There's a bit of a gulf between the two," said Sterling Lloyd, senior research associate at the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. "We don't look at causation. We hope that policymakers and journalists will analyze the data."

Overall, the national graduation rate increased about 6 percentage points between 1998 and 2008, and stands now at 71.7 percent.

Read more on this story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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