TCAP Results Improve Broadly, But Some Gains Not As Big As Hoped

Tennessee students improved in most categories of the statewide comprehensive test, compared to last year. There was only one exception – in eighth-grade reading, scores merely stood still.

Third- through eighth-graders overall gained more than 5 percent in both math and science, and a little over two percent in social studies and reading and language arts.

In some categories the gains were smaller than the state would’ve hoped. Still, Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says the results are hardly a “disappointment.” Under the state’s Race to the Top initiative, Tennessee aims to improve each subject 3 to 5 percent a year.

“We exceeded that in elementary-school reading. In middle-school reading, our growth was slower. And so one of the questions I think we have is why is the middle-school grade – while it’s improving, it’s not improving as fast as our other subjects. So what’s happening in middle-grades reading? Are there things that we can do to provide better professional development?”

While test scores make up part of teachers’ professional evaluations, Huffman cautions the results won’t factor into new tenure rules until next year.

Officials haven’t yet opened up data specific to schools or districts. They say that’s so any disputes about the results can be worked out before they’re final and public.

High School

Aside from the above-mentioned TCAP results for third- through eighth-graders, the state also released End Of Course results for high-schoolers. Some of those categories actually went slightly backwards compared to last year.

This past school year the percentage of high-schoolers rated proficient or advanced in English I went from 66.3 to 66.1 percent. And U.S. History scores went from 95.6 to 95.3 percent.

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Statewide TCAP and EOC results can be viewed here (PDF).

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