The “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) requires reporting of an indicator to predict high school graduate performance in post-secondary training or the workforce. This indicator should represent proficiency beyond academics. The TN Ready Graduate indicator represents a holistic, well-rounded  education, and to meet this requirement, students must fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

  • Earn a  composite score of 21 or higher on the ACT (or 1060  or higher on the SAT)

  • Complete four early post-secondary opportunities (EPSOs)

  • Complete two EPSOs + earn an industry certification

  • Complete two EPSOs + earn a score of military readiness, 31 or higher, on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT)

Click to view more information on Ready Graduate and Indicators


Research has shown that on Early Post-Secondary Opportunities improve the readiness and success rates for students' post-high school graduation in the workforce or post-secondary or training programs. Early post-secondary opportunities allow students to: 

  • earn post-secondary credits while in high school;

  • become familiar with post-secondary rigor and expectations;

  • develop confidence and skills for success in post-secondary learning and workforce;

  • make informed post-secondary and career decisions;

  • decrease the time and cost of completing a certificate or degree.

Smith County Schools offer students the following opportunities to earn EPSOs:

  • Dual enrollment DE) is a post- secondary course, taught either at the post-secondary institution or at the high school, by post-secondary faculty or credentialed adjunct faculty. Dual enrollment provides college credit at the school where the course was completed but may also transfer to other colleges.

  • Local dual credit (LDC) is a high school course aligned to a local post-secondary institution’s course and exam. LDC earned college credit is only valid at the college designated.

  • State wide dual credit (SDC) classes are college- level courses taught at the high school level by trained high school teachers. SDC earned is valid only to state Tennessee colleges. 

  • Industry certifications (IC) are earned through secondary and post-secondary career and technical education programs and courses.

  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams can be taken to assess mastery of post-secondary level material acquired in a variety of ways, including through general academic instructions, significant indepeImagendent study or extracurricular work. CLEP credit is widely accepted at many postsecondary institutions.