Metro Nashville schools join those in the middle of the pack statewide for meeting goals set for reaching academic targets and closing achievement gaps, according to state education officials.
The district ranked among the top 30 percent of the state’s school districts, scoring an “intermediate” grade in meeting specific state-set objectives in the 2012-13 school year. The ranking is the same distinction earned last year.
“I’m satisfied that we are making progress. I am not satisfied with where our children are until they all exceed performance standards,” said Jesse Register, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools.
“We don’t want to give up on any of our children now. It’s a long road, a lot progress needs to be made. The most important thing is that we have a positive trend,” he added.
The state fell short on three of 11 benchmarks  designed to measure student achievement, namely reading and language arts scores for third graders, seventh graders and the third through eighth grade cohort, according to Paul Changas, executive director of the district’s Department of Research, Assessment and Evaluation.
This year’s grading of Tennessee’s school districts is the second annual measurement of accountability ushered in by the Tennessee Department of Education after securing a waiver from portions of No Child Left Behind.
MNPS joined 31 other districts labeled as “intermediate.”
The state pointed to five schools as “exemplary” three districts as “in need of improvement” and 96 districts “in need of subgroup improvement for at least one subgroup” in closing the achievement gap such as with low-income, minority population or students with disabilities.
Instead of expecting all school districts to meet uniform benchmarks, the system measures districts on how well they do meeting goals that show growth. Districts are ranked as exemplary, intermediate or in need of improvement.
Last year the state ranked MNPS as intermediate, meeting seven of nine benchmarks.
Of the five districts in Tennessee ranking as “exemplary” under the state grading scale, all but one sits in or near West Tennessee and the other is in far East Tennessee. They include Bells City Schools, Bradford Special School District, Elizabethton City Schools, Perry County Schools and Stewart County Schools.