Cllr McDowall said the council was striving to improve standards
A council has said claims that literacy and numeracy levels in its secondary schools are among the worst in Scotland are "very misleading".
A spokeswoman for Dumfries and Galloway Council said the data from S2 pupil tests did not tell the full story.
The statistics - released under the Freedom of Information Act - show the number meeting minimum requirements for reading, writing and maths has dropped.
Cllr Sandra McDowall said the authority was working hard to tackle the issue.
The figures showed Dumfries and Galloway had seen standards fall in reading, writing and maths.
However, Ms McDowall, who chairs the education committee, said it was not a fair representation of the region.
"It is very misleading and I am sorry that it has caused such concern to parents," she said.
She said not all schools tested pupils in S2 which made the figures "incomplete".
"Our teachers are always striving to improve standards," she added.
"We have carried out a full authority evaluation, appointed a literacy officer and are in the process of implementing an ambitious action plan region wide.
"So you can see we don't stand still, we always strive for better."