TCAP scores could force Knoxville mom to choose between summer school and custody arrangements
A Knoxville third-grader failed the English section of TCAP and faces the possibility of summer school but is set to spend the summer with his father out of state
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - More East Tennessee parents are coming forward with concerns about their child’s TCAP scores and the tough decisions some of them face.
We now know 60% of third-graders in Tennessee did not meet expectations on the English section of TCAP, which means they face the possibility of repeating the grade. 36% did not make the cut in Knox County.
Previous Coverage: Only 40% of Tenn. third-graders ready for fourth grade, Dept. of Education says
One of those students might have to choose between summer school and seeing his father.
“Given the grade that he has, and how well he reads, and how well he writes, there shouldn’t be an issue,” Melissa Merrick said, a mom to a third-grader at Cedar Bluff Elementary School in Knoxville.
“And then I get the email,” she said.
The email came as a surprise to Merrick on Friday. It said her son missed the cut on the English section of TCAP, which threatens his fourth grade eligibility.
“He’s had between a 92 and 98 [in English] the entire school year,” Merrick said.
But Merrick’s situation presents a unique issue. Her son is set to leave Friday to spend the entire summer in Florida with his father.
“That’s agreed upon. We can’t break that agreement. He has to go,” she said.
Merrick said breaking that agreement would cause an entirely different set of problems. She said her son took the retest, and won’t get his results until Friday.
Students who pass can move onto fourth grade. But it’s likely summer school for students who fail.
“If he has to go to summer school, what do we do?” Merrick said. “Tell him he doesn’t get to see his dad for the summer?”
Merrick’s son is part of the thousands of students statewide who did not score high enough on the TCAP’s English section.
State Senator Jon Lundberg, who was vice chair of the Education Committee when the bill went through, and is now chairman, said he was not surprised that many students didn’t make the cut.
“Sadly enough, that’s a good number right now,” Sen. Lundberg said. “We actually had a 4.3% increase from the past number of years, which is the largest increase in the state’s history.”
The senator said teachers are always under pressure to pass students along, which is why he thinks some students did well during the school year, but not on TCAP.
“Are grades inflated? I don’t know. That’s a question that I think a lot of folks have to ask,” he said.
Sen. Lundberg reminded people the purpose of the law is to prevent kids from falling behind and getting them the help they need before it’s too late.
Students who pass the retest this week are cleared to move on to fourth grade. Students who do not pass it have a few options. They can go to summer school or get a state-provided tutor throughout their fourth grade year. Repeating third grade is the last option.
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