The initial Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) scores are in.
It’s the first round of scores impacted since the state’s third-grade retention law passed in January of 2021.
This week, Wilson County School District and the Lebanon Special School District (LSSD) have been notifying parents of students that have not achieved the required test scores of their students’ options.
The third-grade retention law requires all third-graders in the state to earn an “on-track” or “mastered” score on the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of their TCAP test. If they receive a score of “below proficient” or “approaching proficient,” the student may be retained in the third grade.
While the exact% of the approximately 430 third-graders in LSSD schools who scored below proficient is not able to be released, parents have been contacted.
“TCAP data is embargoed, but students who were not proficient received a phone call (Monday) from the school’s administrative team to discuss the promotion options with each parent,” LSSD Director of Teaching and Learning Pam Sampson said. “The promotion pathways were explained for students that scored below proficient and approaching proficient.”
Those students then have three options. Students who did not achieve the required scores can retake their TCAP test, or attend a summer learning program and show growth on the post-test administered at the end of the program, or the student can be assigned a tutor through the Tennessee Accelerating Literacy and Learning Corps (TN ALL Corps) for the upcoming school year.
Out of the approximately 1,430 third-grade students in Wilson County Schools, approximately 50.2% received a proficient score on their ELA TCAP assessment. That is an increase from last year, when approximately 47.9% of third-grade students scored proficient in ELA.
Of the remaining 49.8% of students, some of them qualified for an exemption to the retention law based on established criteria.
“Examples of students who received exemptions are — English learners with less than two years ELA instruction, students who were previously retained in grades K-3, students with a disability that impacts reading and/or students with a suspected disability that impacts reading,” WCS Public Information Officer Bart Barker said.
However, a large number of students in Wilson County Schools did not qualify for an exemption.
“The approximately 500 students who scored below proficient and did not qualify for an allowed exemption were notified by email on Friday evening,” the Wilson County Schools Testing and Accountability Department said in a statement. “The email informed parents about the opportunity for their child to participate in a retake opportunity starting on Monday. The retake process will continue this week.”
Elementary schools began administering TCAP test retakes in Wilson County schools on Monday and in LSSD schools on Tuesday, and they will continue doing retakes as needed through Thursday. WCS anticipates receiving data from the retake tests by Friday.
Families of students who did not achieve the required ELA test scores will also have the opportunity to appeal the student’s scores.
“Beginning May 30 through May 31, we will have staff ready at Coles Ferry Elementary to support students that may have missed the retake test or parents that need support in filing an appeal as their student’s promotion pathway,” Sampson said. “The appeal process requires the parent of the student to complete an online form requesting approval to be promoted based on the end-of-year universal screener score. If this grade satisfies the state requirement, the student will be promoted to grade 4.”
The Wilson County Schools Testing and Accountability Department detailed the following two circumstances as grounds for an appeal to be made:
- The student received a score at or above the 40th%ile on their spring universal reading screener.
- A catastrophic situation occurred during the days leading up to the TCAP test that impacted the third-grade student’s ability to perform on the test. Examples of a catastrophic situation include, but are not limited to, a death in the immediate family, loss of a family home, or significant medical diagnosis.
A universal reading screener helps assess a student’s reading and fluency skills.
According to Sampson, schools and families in the LSSD were prepared for the scores to be released.
“As a district, last fall, we began sharing information concerning the third-grade retention law with our families,” Sampson said. “Each school held informational meetings with parents, as well as in-person meetings with the parents of students that were projected to score below grade level based on the results of a mock TCAP assessment we administered in January. The TCAP results were consistent with the mock assessment results. Therefore, there were very few surprises when the actual scores were released.”
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