Education

One in three TN high schoolers graduated without right credits last year

Local students prepare for college

A new study shows about one third of the high school graduates in Tennessee in 2015 didn't complete the correct course credit requirements. The Tennessee Department of Education did the study to find out why high schoolers were struggling at the collegiate level.

Students are required to take four English, Social Studies and Math courses, three Science courses, and two Foreign Language courses. The new report shows many don't complete that course work, most lacking is the required Foreign Language or Social Studies courses.

One of the main problems highlighted as a reason in the report was a lack of guidance and support for students.

Carter County school officials said their students were struggling with this problem a few years ago. Since then Cloudland High School Guidance Counselor, Shelli McKinney, said they've made college-readiness a real focus.

"Together the county administrators, teachers got together got together and decided this was really important for us to do that,” said McKinney.

Cloudland now has mandatory ACT college prep courses for juniors, and students have regular guidance counselor meetings all through high school to make sure they're staying on track.

Carter County’s college going rate has increased by as much as 15 percent in the last two years.

"I personally print out all the transcripts for all the kids in my school,” said McKinney. “Then I got through there with my four year plan and check if they've had their four English and their four math. If they haven't then I bring then in and we come up with a solution."

Senior, Timothy Guinn, has been accepted into East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee, he said the counseling has made a huge difference.

"Getting me through high school and making sure that I take all the classes that I need to take to get through to the next level,” said Guinn.

Northeast State Community College is also working with local high schools to help decrease the number of students needing learning support or bridging classes before college.

The SAILS Math program brings learning support for struggling students into the high school classroom. It's already reduced the number of students needing bridging classes by 15.6 percent since 2012.

"We've seen the success in the past few years and they're trying to add more things, more initiatives to improve that success,” said Mallisa Trent, Director of Learning Support at Northeast State.


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