The Tennessee Department of Education and Hamilton County Department of Education released test data that shows improvement in some subject areas, and a decline in others.

The data is from the 2016-17 school year, while Hamilton County schools were led by interim superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly.  Dr. Kelly recently announced his retirement, after the School Board chose Dr. Bryan Johnson to replace him after a 5-4 vote.  Dr. Kelly is now a consultant, and will be a subcontractor for for Hamilton County schools, and is also an adjunct professor at Lee University in Cleveland.  He said, "I'm very proud of what we accomplished in Hamilton County during the past year, and am proud to have served the school district for almost thirty-five years.  I truly appreciate the support of the students and employees, and the residents of Hamilton County."

Test data in Hamilton County show improvement in English, chemistry and math scores, with a decline in U.S. history and biology scores.  Hamilton County continues to lag behind the state in each subject area except Algebra I.

Individual scores for Hamilton County Schools have not yet been released,  but are expected in the next few days.

Here is the statement from Hamilton County spokesperson Amy Katcher:

Tennessee’s recently released ACT and TNReady EOC (End of Course) scores for grades 9-12 show Hamilton County Schools are making strides across the board.

As student achievement increased across the state, the same happened here in Hamilton County. The district posted increased achievement rankings in the released preliminary results. This is particularly significant given the new TNReady test, now in its second year, is far more rigorous than the test given in years’ past. The new test more closely aligns to national tests to ensure more students graduate ready for college and career.

HCDE Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson says while he is pleased with the initial signs of improvement, he knows the district must work to discover new ways to address the areas of concern. “We are excited that our grades 9-12 data indicates we are moving in an upward direction and beginning to outpace districts that outperformed us in previous years. We also recognize that we still trail state averages in most subject areas and have work to do, but are encouraged that the performance gap between the district and state is beginning to close.”

EOC English and math scores increased for 2017, when compared with 2016. “There was a strong focus on literacy and teacher support, which proved beneficial,” said Chief of Opportunity Schools Jill Levine.

HCDE Numbers at a glance:

  • HCDE students with “college ready” ACT composite scores of 21 or higher increased to 40.1%, compared with 36.6% in 2016.

  • Fourteen of HCDE’s 19 high schools saw greater gains in ACT composite scores this year, when compared with the school year ending in 2016.

  • HCDE student gains outpaced the state in mathematics. HCDE’s ranking in the state compared to other districts increased by 14.3 percentage points.

  • Nearly one-third of all HCDE students in grades 9-12 are considered to be ‘on-track’ or ‘mastered’ in English. This is an improvement of approximately 2.7 percentage points.


HCDE 15-16

% On Track/Mastered

HCDE 16-17

% On Track/Mastered

State 16-17

% On Track/Mastered

English 1




English 2




English 3




Algebra 1








Algebra 2












US History




“We will continue to support our great teachers and leaders as we work to become the fastest improving district in Tennessee. We know there must be a sense of urgency and a focus on excellence. We have identified specific schools and content areas that need additional support and are aligning our resources to address these areas.” added Dr. Johnson.