‘I was shocked’ | Parents react after kids do not pass English section of TCAP

60% of third-graders in Tennessee did not meet the expectation on the English section of TCAP; they now face summer school or repeating the grade.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 7:11 PM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2023 at 2:29 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The state of Tennessee released TCAP data Monday, which showed 60% of third-graders across the state scored ‘below’ or ‘approaching’ proficiency in the English section.

That number is 36% in Knox County. Some parents were shocked to learn the news.

“I am just absolutely shocked,” Katherine Bike said, District 4 Representative for the Knox County Board of Education. Bike is also the mother to a third-grader.

“He’s a better reader than his sister who’s a year-and-a-half older than him,” Bike said. “I wasn’t worried about him.”

Plus, she said he had all A’s and B’s during the school year, with a 92 average in English, which is why she was shocked to learn her son did not score high enough on the English section of TCAP.

“There are so many parents that are in the same situation, whose kids are making A’s and B’s, actually getting honor roll awards, and so many school awards,” Bike said.

Bike said those are the wrong kids to target with Tennessee’s third-grade retention law. It’s the first year third-graders in the state that score in the ‘below’ or ‘approaching’ proficient categories in English have to either go to summer school, get extra tutoring next year, or repeat third grade.

Kids can retake the test this week. It’s a multiple choice test on the computer. If they pass that, they can advance to fourth grade.

“These kids are fully capable, they are ready to progress to fourth grade, and now they’re being held back, they’re being worried,” Bike said. “People should know that we shouldn’t be blaming our schools and our teachers. This is the legislature.”

WVLT News reached out to every public school district in East Tennessee to request how many kids passed the English section. Besides Knox County Schools, the only other district to provide data was Cocke County School District, where 72% of third-graders didn’t score high enough.