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A Closer Look at Tennessee's 2018 Priority Schools 

This brief considers the 2018 Priority Schools List in both a comparative and historical context by comparing 2018 Priority Schools to other schools in the state, comparing schools on the 2018 list to schools identified in 2012 and 2014, and examining the variation in performance trajectories of schools on the 2012 Priority List. 

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Key Findings:
  • 2018 Priority schools are distinctly different from typical schools in Tennessee in terms of more than just academic performance. Most notably, these schools serve far higher proportions of economically disadvantaged students and students of color. 
  • Despite changeover in which specific schools comprise the latest list, 2018 Priority Schools look much like the schools on the 2012 and 2014 Priority Lists in terms of student and staff characteristics. 

  • Almost half of all schools from the 2012 Priority List have improved rapidly relative to the rest of the state over the past six years, while only a small handful of 2012 Priority Schools have fallen further behind.  

  • The fastest-improving schools from the 2012 Priority List come exclusively from among elementary and middle schools (no high schools)and exclusively from within Shelby County.

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