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  • Writer's pictureLucky Knott

State Releases Third and Fourth Grade ELA TCAP Scores: Tullahoma City Schools Release Their Results

Tullahoma City Schools saw improvement in its fourth-grade English Language Arts (ELA) Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) scores, with a seven percent increase in proficiency from the raw data provided to the district, compared to this group’s ELA results from 2023.


”I am incredibly proud of our students, teachers and families for their continued support of the district’s goal of increasing our student’s literacy skills,” said TCS Director of Schools, Dr. Catherine Stephens. “I am thankful for the support of our community, most notably, our Reading Buddies; these dedicated volunteers work with our elementary students in literacy on a weekly basis.”


The ELA subtest assesses reading, writing, listening, speaking and language academic standards. TCS saw 49 percent of its fourth-grade students reach proficiency on this year’s test. This same class had 42 percent proficient as third graders in 2023. The fourth-grade class is the first impacted by the third-grade retention law. This raw data includes students who have received exemptions previously, which includes students with disabilities, students who are suspected of having disabilities, kindergarten through third-grade students who have previously been retained and English learners.


In 2021, the Tennessee General Assembly passed two key pieces of legislation, the Tennessee Literacy Success Act and the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act. These legislative pieces were passed to help Tennessee students recover from potential learning loss due to COVID-19. As part of this legislation, the General Assembly revised the state’s law regarding third-grade promotion. It was determined through this law that ELA TCAP scores would be used to determine which third-grade students must be retained or have additional support in reading before transitioning to the fourth grade.


TCS also saw 33 percent of its current third-grade students reach proficiency on the ELA portion of this year’s TCAP. These results include all exempt students as well. This is the first year these students have taken the TCAP exam.


“These students began their schooling as kindergartners during COVID-19, which continued through their first-grade year,” Dr. Stephens said. “Because the first two years of their education was interrupted by a worldwide pandemic, unique obstacles have surfaced that we are navigating.”

Despite these obstacles, with the newly instituted, state-sanctioned promotion pathways, nearly 100 percent of third-grade students are advancing to the fourth grade. These pathways include exemptions, retakes, appeals, universal reading screener results, and a conference pathway, where the teacher, principal and parent come together to evaluate multiple sources of data to determine what is best for the student regarding learning, growth and promotion. Tutoring and/or summer school will be provided for students identified as needing this additional help and support.


“Our third and fourth-grade ELA and Response to Intervention (RTI) teachers are working tirelessly to support our students in reading,” Dr. Stephens said. “I’m truly grateful to these educators for their dedication and commitment, especially with the pressures this third-grade retention law causes for them specifically. I know that we will continue to see growth and progress.”

State Results:

The Tennessee Department of Education has released statewide average 3rd grade and 4th grade results for the ELA portion of the spring 2024 Tennessee Comprehensive Academic Program (TCAP) assessment. Third grade student scores remained steady as 4th grade student scores showed significant improvement, thanks to the nation-leading, comprehensive statewide literacy strategy for Tennessee public schools.

"Tennessee's strategic education investments have resulted in significant gains in reading for students across the state," said Gov. Bill Lee. "As we continue our work to ensure that all Tennessee students can read at grade level, we remain committed to supporting teachers and empowering families with multiple pathways to achievement so every student can thrive in their academic journey."

On the ELA portion of the spring 2024 TCAP, 3rd grade improvement remained steady with a slight increase to 40.9% proficient. Overall, 4th grade students achieved a 2.9 percentage point increase in their proficiency rate to 46.4% proficient, demonstrating the year-over-year gains for this cohort of students who reached an historic achievement level last year. Additionally, the fewest number of 4th grade students scored in the “below expectations” proficiency performance level than ever before, meaning more 4th grade students are meeting or are within reach of meeting expectations.

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