According to state education officials, 60% of third-grade students are at risk of being retained based on a single test score.
“Families of third graders across Tennessee are feeling the consequences of Republicans enacting a law that ignored evidence-based and data-driven recommendations,” said Sen. London Lamar, chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. “Instead they used students as a pawn to enact their extreme agenda.
“Our third graders are so much more than a single test score. We should be investing in more innovative solutions like smaller classroom sizes and reading specialists, not more high-stakes testing.”
“There are so many student interventions we could be supporting to improve reading comprehension, said Sen. Raumesh Akbari, leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus. “High-stakes testing, with the threat of failing third grade, is not one of them.
“Important decisions about your child’s education should never be made based on a single test score. But the G.O.P. refused to listen to educators and passed their third-grade retention law anyway.
“Now 60% of third graders could be held back. No one benefits from this manufactured chaos.”
“It is important for children, parents, and the community to understand that if a student didn’t score proficient on this one test, it does not mean they failed, that they cannot read, or that they are not making learning progress,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, director of Metro Schools. “Tennessee has some of the highest standards in the nation for student expectations, and while we all strive to help them meet those goals, students all start from different places, and teachers work hard to ensure they are making growth and progress in their learning journey. While we did not agree with this law, we are required to implement it and are committed to working with every family to make sure their students are provided the opportunities necessary to be promoted to the 4th grade.”
According to MNPS officials, if a student scores proficient on the TCAP reading re-take, they will be exempt from the retention law. If a student moves from “below” to “approaching” in the re-take, they will be subject to the “approaching” provisions of the state law that include only one required intervention and offer an option to appeal.
“Throughout the year, we have encouraged all 3rd grade families to sign up for Promising Scholars, our summer learning program, which starts June 1,” said Battle. “As of May 19, there were approximately 3,700 3rd grade students registered to attend. Registration will continue to remain open through the start of Promising Scholars for students who require this intervention to be promoted.”
Students who attend Promising Scholars will be required to maintain 90% attendance and will be given a state-created post-test assessment at the end of the program. Students will be required to achieve a five percent growth in their score between the reading portion of the 3rd grade ELA TCAP and the post-assessment. Students who move from “below” to “achieving” through the re-take assessment (conducted May 22-24) will have that new score serve as their baseline.
“Accelerating Scholars, our high-impact tutoring program, will serve as the intervention for students who score “below expectations” and require two interventions in order to be promoted, or for those who scored “approaching” but either did not attend Promising Scholars or did not meet the adequate growth threshold,” said Battle. “Students who require this intervention will be assigned tutoring opportunities accordingly.”