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UPDATE: Reaction from local school districts on 3rd grade TCAP scores

From Local 3 News: As schools across the state pore over the data from the spring 2023 Tennessee Comprehensive Academic Program (TCAP) test result

From Local 3 News: As schools across the state pore over the data from the spring 2023 Tennessee Comprehensive Academic Program (TCAP) test results, local schools are reacting to the news.


Hamilton County Schools – 

77% of HCS 3rd graders eligible for promotion to the 4th grade with no additional interventions.


More than three-fourths of Hamilton County Schools (HCS) third graders are eligible for promotion to the fourth grade with no additional interventions following the release of raw TCAP data from the Tenn. Dept. of Education.

Starting with the 2022-23 school year, the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act requires any third-grade student who is not proficient in the literacy portion of the TCAP to repeat the 3rd grade or receive additional instruction in literacy to be promoted to the 4th grade.

“Hamilton County Schools has been preparing for this day for nearly a year,” said HCS Superintendent Dr. Justin Robertson. “In November, we began communicating with third-grade families about the requirements for promotion to the fourth grade. We have also worked to put strategies and resources in place to make sure every student has a pathway for promotion under the law. Early literacy is a foundation for student success, and we are committed to seeing every student learn. In addition to classroom instruction, proven programs like Summer Reach and intensive literacy tutoring will provide the supports necessary to make sure this year’s third-grade class is eligible and ready to move to fourth grade.”


Out of the district’s 3,488 third-grade students, 2,681 are eligible to be promoted to fourth grade without any additional intervention based on their proficiency on the TCAP, eligible student exemptions, or eligibility to appeal.


Forty percent of third-grade students were eligible based on a proficient TCAP score, 25% of students qualify for an exemption, and 12% of students are eligible to appeal with the Tennessee Department of Education.


Twenty-three percent of third graders, or 807 students, did not score proficient on TCAP assessment or meet any exemption criteria. These students were scheduled to take the new second-try TCAP assessment offered to them at their school Monday and Tuesday, May 22-23.


These students will have the opportunity to improve their score, resulting in fewer interventions when promoted to the fourth grade. Of these students, approximately 400 students will be required to attend Summer Reach to be eligible for promotion to the 4th grade.

Starting on Tuesday afternoon, May 23, HCS will send communications to families who are eligible for appeal or will need to attend Summer Reach. These communications will include the information necessary to either submit an appeal to the Tennessee Department of Education, or ensure a student is enrolled in Summer Reach.


The Reach program operates from June 5-30 from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. for elementary school and 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. for middle school. The program is entirely free. Students will receive a free lunch every day, and transportation will be provided.


Each day students will have instruction in reading and math, time for physical activity, and hands-on activities. Families can still register for Summer Reach through PowerSchool. See the Hamilton Co. Dept of Education website for further instructions.


Bradley County Schools – 

Denny H. Collins, Ed.S., Supervisor of Assessment, Accountability, and Strategy for Bradley County Schools:


“On Friday, May 19, 2023, the Tennessee Department of Education released RAW score data to districts across the state. RAW score data is traditionally used only to validate the accuracy of student tests between the TDOE and districts, not as a scoring metric. In conjunction with the new Third Grade Retention Law, RAW scores are now to be used as an initial indicator of those third grade students who are required to participate in either summer school programming, fourth-grade tutoring, or both according to requirements of the law. Upon Friday’s release, our schools set about identifying which third grade students would participate in the state’s ELA TCAP retake exam and those students that were exempt from the retention law based on state-identified qualifiers.

Our initial RAW score data, while not intended to generate proficiency information, is extremely promising. We are currently working with our schools to identify those students who meet exemption criteria status as established by the TDOE as well as students that will engage in the TCAP retake this week. From our initial assessment, we believe that our raw score success rate for third grade ELA improved substantially. While we await the business rules and accountability measures that are dictated by the TDOE, we are excited by the progress that our early raw numbers have illustrated. We hope to have a more clear picture of our student achievement rate once our student retakes are complete and proficiency levels are released later this week.”


Cleveland City Schools

“Cleveland City Schools has been working to inform our students and families about Tennessee’s 3rd Grade Retention Law throughout the school year. We have diligently provided exceptional tutoring and individual interventions to support our at-risk students. In addition, we have been intentional in our preparation for the summer learning program throughout the school year,” said a representative from Cleveland City Schools.


“On Friday evening, we received the raw data results for the 3rd grade English Language Arts (ELA) section of the TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) in Cleveland City Schools. These families were informed about the next steps, including retesting, which is currently taking place. We don’t plan to release raw data results to the public, especially during the retesting process as these results could change. We are waiting on the final results from the Tennessee Department of Education. We’re told it could be Friday afternoon. ”


“Our primary focus remains on ensuring that our students and families have access to the necessary resources required for achieving academic success.”

Bledsoe County Schools

– No response


Grundy County Schools – 

Dr. Donald C. Durley, Director of Schools: “Late Friday afternoon, the state released TCAP raw scores. Processed data was shared with third grade parents to inform them if their child needed to retest on Monday or Tuesday.


After analyzing district data, 86% of third grade students are eligible to move on to the fourth grade. Students retested on Monday and Tuesday of this week. 14% of Grundy County third grade students will need to attend Summer Learning Camps for promotion to the next grade.

We are proud of the hard work and dedication of our teachers, staff members, students, and parents throughout this process.”


Marion County Schools

Director of Marion County Schools, Mark Griffith says the school system will be sharing a statement on Wednesday. 


Meigs County Schools

– No response


McMinn County Schools – 

Director of Schools Lee Parkison: “We had 110 students (33%) that are being retested today and tomorrow. These will need the ‘promotion path’ of testing, summer camp, or tutoring”


McMinn County School’s Elementary Supervisor, Steven Brady, says “raw testing data shows 33 percent of their students did not meet expectations. Those students spent Tuesday retaking the test.”


– If they pass the test, they will be promoted to fourth grade.


-Those who do not pass the test, must attend the summer classes and/or receive tutoring.


Polk County Schools –

Dr. James Jones, Director Of Schools: “We are still reviewing scores and are not ready to release them.”


Rhea County Schools

– No response


Sequatchie County Schools –

Director Of Schools Sarai Pierce: “The General Assembly passed legislation that impacted all students enrolled in third grade across the state.  Sequatchie County School Board was one of many who sent letters to elected officials asking for improvements to be made to such legislation.


Of the 137 third graders at Griffith Elementary School, 40 had to retake the online test.  Once results are returned (TDOE says 48 hr turnaround), families will know what options they have as a pathway to be promoted to 4th grade. Director of Schools, Sarai Pierce, commented saying, “Regardless of what one standardized test score says, we know that miracles happen inside the walls of public schools every day. We take all students and teach all students. We are thankful for the teachers and families who come together and help prepare their students for the future.”