TCAP scores highest in six years, despite high retention risk, data shows

WSMV4's Michael Warrick reports.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 8:04 PM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Despite a staggering number of third graders at risk of being held back, statewide TCAP scores were the highest they’ve been in six years, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Education.

Sixty percent of third graders in Tennessee did not score high enough on the reading and writing test to avoid the possibility of retention.

Thirteen percent of third graders ‘exceeded’ the state’s expectation, while 27% “met” the standard, automatically promoting them to fourth grade. The Tennessee Department of Education says that is the largest increase in a single year of third graders whose English Language Arts (ELA) scores met or exceeded expectations since Tennessee updated its ELA academic standards in 2017.

The graph below from the Tennessee Department of Education shows the statewide averages of third grade ELA performance from 2017-2023.

TCAP graph
TCAP graph(Submitted)

If a third grade student scored ‘approaching’ or ‘below’ expectations, they can still be promoted to fourth grade if student retakes the ELA TCAP and score proficient. If they attend summer school or receive tutoring, they can also be promoted.

Students who are English learners with less than two years of ELA instruction and students with reading disabilities or suspected disabilities are exempt from third grade retention.

For information about pathways forward for your third grade student, visit: