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K-12 Education

There are more than 1,700 public elementary, middle and high schools in Tennessee that serve students in grades kindergarten through 12.

The Tennessee Department of Education is working to raise standards in schools and build a strong curriculum that aligns student learning with career and post-secondary opportunities. See the Standards page for information on our transition to Common Core State Standards, academic course offerings and standards for Career and Technical Education.

Information on dual credit, dual enrollment and other early postsecondary opportunities can be found on the Postsecondary Coordination and Alignment page.

Tennessee measures student progress and proficiency in various subjects through annual statewide testing called the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP. Students in grades 3-8 take Achievement Tests in reading, math, science and social students. Students in high school English I and II, Algebra I and II, Biology and history take End of Course exams. Some schools opt to also have students in grades K-2 complete Achievement tests. More about the TCAP, including practice tests and the testing dates, can be found on the Testing page.

Tennessee aims to prepare students for careers and post-secondary education and requires that they earn a certain number of credits to graduate. See the Graduation page to learn about the graduation requirements set in place by the Tennessee Diploma Project.

Tennessee’s expanding Career and Technical Education programs offer students instruction and experience specific to various occupations and present them with pathways to post-secondary education, certification and careers.