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Test retakes improve city, county TCAP scores

  From the Cleveland Daily Banner: A majority of third graders at Cleveland City Schools and Bradley County Schools initially did not


From the Cleveland Daily Banner: A majority of third graders at Cleveland City Schools and Bradley County Schools initially did not demonstrate proficiency in the English Language Arts portion of the 2023 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, according to raw score data released by the Tennessee Department of Education on Wednesday, May 24.


According to the TDOE, 32.62% of third graders at Cleveland City Schools achieved “total proficiency,” followed by 47.75% at Bradley County Schools.
But after retaking the ELA portion of the exam, students at both school systems showed significant improvement.
Cleveland City Schools
Director of Schools Russell Dyer announced on Wednesday  “more than 85%” of city school system third-grade students were eligible for promotion to fourth grade.
“Our data shows nearly 87% of our third graders meet requirements for fourth grade without any interventions based on their proficiency on the TCAP, eligible student exemptions, or eligibility to appeal,” Dyer’s statement said.
Dyer noted 38% of the CCS’ third-grade students “qualify for an exemption due to a disability or because they are English language learners.”  That number was not included in the initial metrics released by the TDOE.
Based on the final results of the ELA portion, including retakes, Dyer said data revealed 36% of the district’s 425 third-grade students tested achieved proficiency.
Additionally, he said “13% of students have the opportunity to appeal with the Tennessee Department of Education in the summer.”
Since August, Dyer said CCS has been “diligently working with students, teachers, and families to provide exceptional tutoring and individual interventions, especially for our at-risk students.”
“We have witnessed the tremendous dedication and hard work of our teachers and staff who are invested in our interventions and one-on-one support programs,” he said. “We take great pride in our achievements thus far and recognize there is still work to be done.”
Dyer added CCS remains “committed to providing the best educational opportunities for all our students.”
“I am beyond proud of the progress they have made this academic year,” he said. “Through our school board’s visionary leadership, we will continue striving for academic excellence for all our students.”
Bradley County Schools
On Friday, Bradley County Schools announced its third-grade students had “recorded exceptional scores on the recently released ELA TCAP data,” with
93% of third-grade students meeting state guidelines for advancement into fourth grade based on “proficiency levels, exemptions and appeal criteria.”
“According to the information released by the Tennessee Department of Education, the third-grade students of Bradley County Schools performed in the top 20% of the state in English Language Arts,” the statement said.
BCS said the school system ranks 27th of 142 Tennessee districts regarding third-grade ELA scores. The school system has 741 third-grade students.
“The results are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our teachers, administrators, students and families,” BCS said.
Linda Cash, BCS’ director of schools, said the results “show 53% of students are meeting or exceeding the standards in ELA based on TCAP alone.”
“Our educators have been working tirelessly to create meaningful and engaging learning experiences that motivate our students to achieve success,” she said.
“We are proud of our students’ hard work and dedication towards their academics, and we commend them for demonstrating exceptional performance on the TCAP assessment.”
Both school systems were not alone in the initial analysis, with many others across the state posting equally grim numbers, including Haywood County Schools, where just 18% of third graders demonstrated total proficiency, followed by Davidson County’s Achievement School District at just over 10%.
Wednesday’s data release was preceded by a TDOE announcement on Monday that revealed 60% of the state’s third graders fell short of the ELA portion of the TCAP’s benchmark potentially endangering their advancement to the fourth grade.
Raw data for adjacent counties 
Proficiency metrics in school systems adjacent to Bradley County also reflected students’ lackluster performance on the ELA portion of the TCAP prior to retesting:
• Hamilton County Schools — 40.06%
• Polk County Schools — 36.84%
• McMinn County Schools — 32.71%
• Athens City Schools — 43.16%
• Meigs County Schools — 41.44%
• Rhea County Schools — 39.68%
• Dayton City Schools — 49.29%
In an effort to reverse student learning loss incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, state legislators in 2021 passed a Third-Grade Reading Retention Law which contains four scoring categories for the ELA section of the TCAP, according to an article published in the Banner earlier this year.
Students who score an “approaching expectations” on the TCAP will be required to attend summer school or high-dosage tutoring. Students who score “below expectations” will be required to do both.
There are exceptions to the law, such as students who are new English language learners; students previously retained in grades K-3; students with disabilities; as well as those with suspected disabilities that affect reading proficiency.
Statewide TCAP results for all grades and all subjects will be released in June, according to the TDOE.
There is hope for third graders who did not demonstrate reading proficiency.
According to the TDOE, students categorized as those “approaching standards” may advance to the fourth grade if they accomplish the following:
• A student retests and receives a proficient score on the ELA portion of TCP; or
• A student maintains a 90% attendance at Summer Camp, as well as demonstrates improvement; or
• A student receives free TN All tutoring during fourth grade; or
• A parent appeals the retention decision within 14 days of reaching the decision from their child’s school documenting student growth or an event that affects the student’s ability to perform.
For students at below reading proficiency, they may be promoted to fourth grade if:
• A student retests and is proficient on the ELA portion of TCAP; or A student maintains a 90% attendance at Summer Camp and receives free TN All Corps tutoring during fourth grade.
Families of students scoring “approaching” on the TCAP or TCAP retest also have an option to request an appeal of a local retention decision, according to the TDOE.
The form to submit an appeal can be accessed by visiting https://www.tn.gov/education/learning-acceleration.html. The link opens on May 30 and closes June 30.