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Kyle Kurlick for Chalkbeat

Here are a few takeaways from this year’s state report card

Tennessee’s Department of Education released a pretty sleek and digestible report card yesterday detailing a lot of what you need to know about your local schools and how they performed last year.  What’s my school’s average ACT score? What’s the dropout rate? How’d the teachers perform on their evaluations?

Data, as you probably know, is used for everything in the education world nowadays. It’s used by teachers to determine which students need special intervention in a classroom, it’s used by principals to determine how well classroom teachers are doing, it’s used by districts in decisions about whether schools should get new principals, and it’s used by the state in deliberations over which districts need state intervention or takeover.

Some folks say it’s too much data while other folks say there needs to be more.

Last year, the state redesigned its website to make the data more accessible and sensible to non-educators like parents and politician, folks who have a lot of say in the education world but have a hard time making sense of all the changes it has undergone in recent years.

It’s usually released in Excel spread sheets and reporters write quarterly articles attempting to synthesize whether school systems work or don’t work.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be digging through the report cards to tell you the stories behind the data. In the meantime, browse our database of schools’ test scores here.

Here are a few things that stuck out to us about Shelby County Schools last year:

  •  About 74 percent of students graduated from high school in Shelby County last year.
  • Almost 21 percent of black students were suspended last year compared to 3 percent of white students.
  • Eleven percent of students in Shelby County were fully ready for college last year, according to their ACT scores.
  • Shelby County Schools spent an average of $10,333.20 on each of its 149,928 students.

Anything stick out to you? Let us know in the comments below.