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The East High Alumni Page presents:

 The East High School Academic Evaluation - 2010 
East High School, Memphis, Tennessee

State Report Card: East High School Remains a “Target” School Needing Improvement
School fails to hit graduation target in 2009 but 2010 tests indicate meeting benchmarks in math & language arts curriculum

January 7, 2011 - Today the State of Tennessee released the long delayed state report card on schools for the year 2010. It continues to list East High as a "target" school. A "target" school is one that has missed a federal benchmark in at least one academic area for the first year. There are no sanctions or penalties for target schools. The Tennessee Department of Education offers technical assistance to help keep target schools from becoming high priority schools, which is a category indicating a longer period of lower performance or multiple areas of lower performance.

Students meet math and language arts benchmarks

Initial review of the released 2010 data by The East High Alumni Page indicates a sufficient number of East students in the 2009-2010 school year met the federal benchmarks in math and the category of reading/language arts/writing. The measurement at which the school failed to meet the "No Child Left Behind " benchmark was the graduation rate. Tennessee uses the previous year’s graduation figures for this assessment, so for the 2008-2009 school year, East is reported to have graduated 62.4% of its pupils, the lowest percentage in the past 3 years. Among girls the rate was 70.1% and for boys it was 53.5%. The state’s goal is a 90% graduation rate. The 2010 report card indicates the 2010 graduation rate to have been 76.4%. The graduation rate measures the percent of on-time graduates with a regular high school diploma. GED and Special Education diplomas are not allowed to count as a regular high school diploma.

ACT Score — the best evaluator and comparison

Because the state periodically changes its standardized tests and how it evaluates students, as it has done for the 2010 report, and because states use different tests and assessments, The East High Alumni Page believes the best annual indicator of a school’s academic performance is its average ACT (formerly know as the American College Test) scores. For the 2009-2010 school year, East pupils averaged a composite ACT score of 16.2. In 1989, the ACT revised its test and issued a chart providing a rough equivalency guide for pre and post 1989 ACT scores. A 16.2 in today’s ACT score would be roughly equivalent to a 12.2 in the pre-1989 ACT scores. All 11th and 12th graders are required to take the ACT score these days while it was optional and fee based decades ago. (It is still fee based, but if a pupil cannot afford it the fee is paid for him/her, which was not the case in previous decades.) However, the ACT was a widely accepted test for college admissions in the past, particularly in the south, and the vast majority of East High students graduating at least during the 1950s, 1960s, and the first half of the 1970s were on the collegiate track and probably took the ACT test.

 Here are the individual year average composite ACT scores for East pupils according to the 2010 report and a pre-1989 equavalency:





ACT Composite Score




Approximate Pre-1989 Equivalent




As a comparison, the average composite score of all public school students from the state of Tennessee taking the ACT in the 2009-2010 school year was 19.6. White Station High School, in which about 50% of the enrollment is in the college preparatory optional program and from which most if not all the National Merit Scholars from the Memphis City Schools came in 2009-2010 had an average composite ACT score of 22.9. Shelby County School system's acclaimed Houston High School had a composite ACT score of 23.3.

There are discrepancies in what The East High Alumni Page last year reported as the ACT scores at East High in 2009 and what the 2010 report shows were the ACT scores that year. Those discrepancies have yet to be resolved. It appears this web site used the figure reported as the "observed" composite ACT score in the "Academic Growth/Value Added" category. How the state reported that score higher than any individual year 3-year average is not understood. Analysis of the discrepancy will continue.

Dropout rate

The 2010 state report shows a cohort dropout rate at East of 36.7%, the highest in the past 3 years. The cohort dropout rate measures the percentage of those students entering the 9th grade that has dropped out by the end of 12th grade. In the past, educators have had issues with this figure because it may include pupils that transferred to other schools or other school districts and did not reflect an absolute discontinuation of school studies by pupils. It is not immediately known if this year’s figures attempt to resolve those issues or simply reflects the number of pupils leaving East High between the 9th grade and the end of the 12th grade, or is somewhere in between those two extremes. The Memphis City School system is known as having a highly transitory school population in which a large number of students transfer among schools during their high school career.


During the 2009-2010 year, it is reported that East High issued 252 suspensions and 56 expulsions from among its 1,088 pupils. The average daily attendance was 1,038.


Of the state's designated "core courses," 94.8% at East were taught by "highly qualified teachers." National Board Certification (NBC) by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is considered advanced certification. A secondary (7-12) teacher who has achieved NBC in the subject area is considered highly qualified.

It does not appear that the State Report Card this year lists the number of reachers at schools. According to the East High web site, there appear to be at least 57 classroom teachers. That would calculate to an average student teacher ratio of 19 to one.

The 2009-2010 school year was the fifth and last year of the tenure of Mr. Fred Curry as principal of East High.


The school is reported to have had 1,088 students for the 2009-2010 school year, an average daily attendance of 1,038. Demographic breakdown of the students shows 1,068 (98.2%) African American, Asian/Pacific Islander 3 (0.3%), Hispanic 4 (0.4%), and White 13 (1.2%). Nine hundred thirty-four, or 89.2% of the East pupils were considered economically disadvantaged.

You may review the Tennessee Report Card on Schools at the Department of Education's web site.

{Editor's note: The editor of The East High Alumni Page is certainly no expert in educational assessment. Every year there are categories or numbers in the state report card that are not well understood. Readers are encouraged to review the report card themselves and seek additional sources of analysis.}

Minor updates were provided in this story January 8, 2011.

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