New TCAP Law Giving School Systems Headaches
Tennessee school systems are dealing with the fallout caused by Tennessee’s new law regarding third grade TCAP scores. Under the new law, students in the third grade that do not score proficient in the TCAP reading test are being faced with taking summer school with 90% attendance rate and have a free state-provided tutor for the entirety of fourth grade. They also have the option to retake the test and score at grade level…or face being held back and not advancing to the fourth grade.
Students whose TCAP score was approaching proficiency can move on to fourth grade if they retest and score on grade level, or enroll in summer school and meet 90% attendance and show adequate growth…or…have a free state-provided tutor for the entirety of fourth grade.
This is a problem throughout the state, as 60% of students statewide did not score above grade level. For instance in Hamblen County, 59% of third graders did not score above grade level, meaning that many of those students could be held back for next year. In Cocke County, only 27.5% of third grade students scored grade level, but that is up from 25% last year. However, 24.5% of third graders in Cocke County scored below grade level and are faced with summer school and a tutor for the next school year.
Amanda Waits with the Cocke County school system points out that the TCAP reading test is not just reading. It also includes grammar, vocabulary and writing. Amanda stressed that there are some students that are more than proficient in reading, but may not be up to par on one or more of the other and that can bring their test score down. Example, there have been several straight A students that have scored less than proficient on their TCAP scores and because of this law, even though they get straight A’s could be held back. Amanda Waits also points out that the students that were in the third grade this year were just starting school when the Covid 19 pandemic hit. Those students were forced into remote learning which has set them back in their education to start with. Letters to parents detailing what the next steps are for their child are supposed to go out this Friday, May 26th.