TCAP results show student progress - WSMV News 4

TCAP results show student progress

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Results from the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program show that students made progress on all subjects statewide this year, but there's still a lot of work to do.

Overall, students made 6 percent gains in math and a 5.5 percent gain in science. Still, fewer than 50 percent of students are proficient in math and reading, signaling there's still a long way to go.

TCAP scores have always mattered to districts and individual schools, but now those scores also help determine teacher and student grades as well.

For the first time in its existence, the test results will be 35 percent of teachers' evaluation scores and determine tenure status.

West End Middle School parent Laura Swanson said it's definitely something she looks at.

"It's important, but I don't think it's the only reflection on the school or the student," Swanson said.

With the federal program No Child Left Behind now a thing of the past, the state wanted to see gains between 3 and 5 percent in English, math, science and social studies.

Students exceeded that in math and science, two areas state leaders have emphasized in the past few years.

"You've heard us talk a lot about how important STEM subjects are, and to see 6 percentage points-plus gains in both areas I think is a really big deal," said Gov. Bill Haslam.

However, students only made a 2.4 percent gain in reading, and middle school reading was particularly slow.

"While it's improving, it's not improving as fast as our other subjects. So what's happening in middle grades' reading, there are things we can do to provide better professional development," said Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.

But leaders recognize that Tennessee students still have much to do.

Only 47 percent of students are proficient in math, and only 50 percent are proficient in reading.

"That's why we are pushing so hard to make the kind of changes we're making," Haslam said. "And if we were satisfied, we would say, 'ok, we will just keep going the way we are.'"

District-specific TCAP data are not available yet. Haslam said that will probably be sent to districts within the next few weeks.

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