District data released for TCAP ELA scores

The state Department of Education has released a breakdown of how school districts across Tennessee did in the third-grade English Language Arts portion of recently-completed TCAP exams.

Monday, officials released information showing that around 40% of Tennessee third-graders scored Proficient on the exam. While that means that approximately 60% did not score Proficient on the test, state officials say that it still showed “historic gains in third-grade reading.”  

Still, it also means that 60% of third-graders in Tennessee are at risk of repeating the third grade after a new law went into effect this year.

Locally, here is how students of the school districts in our own backyard fared.

  • Oak Ridge – 58.74%
  • Clinton City – 55.03%
  • Anderson County – 44.32%
  • Knox County – 42.9%
  • Morgan County – 41.02%
  • Roane County – 40.96%
  • Campbell County – 31.27%

To avoid retention, students can retake the test, enroll in summer school or advance to the fourth grade with a tutor assigned to them.

School districts are responsible for mailing TCAP scores to families, notifying them if their student is at-risk for retention and letting them know about pathways to fourth-grade promotion.

(Oak Ridge Schools) Fifty-nine percent of third grade students in Oak Ridge Schools scored proficient on the spring 2023 English Language Arts (ELA) Tennessee Comprehensive Academic Program (TCAP), nearly 19 percentage points higher than the statewide proficiency level of 40 percent. This represents a six percent increase from the district’s 2022 spring scores.

“We are thrilled with the growth we saw at the third grade level and know it is a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication of not only our students, but our teachers, principals and the entire staff at the elementary level,” said Dr. Bruce Borchers, Superintendent of Oak Ridge Schools. “These results did not come easy and are a testament to our unwavering commitment to student success.”

According to the revision to the state’s law regarding the promotion of students from the third grade, more than 70 percent of Oak Ridge Schools students that did not score proficient qualify for an exemption or an appeal. In total, 11 percent of all ORS third graders scored not proficient and are non-exempt. Those students have been given the opportunity to retake the TCAP, attend summer school and receive additional tutoring sessions during the 2023-24 academic year to ensure promotion to fourth grade.

“Our elementary principals have been working with the families and caregivers of the non-exempt students who did not score proficient to decide the best next steps for each individual student, but we are extremely pleased with how few students fell into that category.” Borchers said. “As always, we will continue to work with each individual student to provide additional support throughout the next steps in their academic careers.”

According to the Tennessee Department of Education, students become exempt if they have previously been retained, are English Language Learners (ELL) with less than two years of ELA instruction or have a suspected disability that impacts reading. Additionally, appeals are available for students that scored in the 41st percentile or above on the spring Aimsweb universal screener or experienced a catastrophic situation during the days leading up to the TCAP test that impacted the ability to perform on the test or the re-test.

“Providing our students with the academic support they need will always be our top priority,” said Borchers. “Should parents have any additional questions or concerns, they should contact their student’s school principal.”

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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