Peter Peacock, Education Minister, took the rare step last June of calling in officials from Moray to discuss the poor HMIE report, which awarded two goods, eight fairs and one unsatisfactory in the different categories of performance.
Last week, however, the interim follow-up report praised the committed leadership of the authority's senior management team and its focus on raising attainment, enhanced consultation, better analysis and use of data, and much improved programme of continuing professional development for staff.
In primary schools, the declining attainment trend has been reversed. In reading, writing and mathematics, the rate of change has gone from a low baseline to above the national average rate.
In secondary schools, attainment at S2 in reading, writing and mathematics showed signs of improvement and in all three subjects the gap with national standards had narrowed.
However, despite the efforts of officers and schools, attainment at S5-S6 was generally static and required more time for new approaches to have an impact.
Inspectors also praised the authority's consultation procedures for improving school buildings and "considerable progress" in strengthening existing policies and implementing new ones, particularly quality improvement.
Alasdair Urquhart, chairman of the educational services committee, said: "I am delighted that HMIE have recognised the considerable progress that we have made since their first report."