Gov. Haslam: TN is fastest-improving state in education - WSMV News 4

Gov. Haslam: TN is fastest-improving state in education, according to NAEP results

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Gov. Bill Haslam announced Thursday that Tennessee is the fastest-improving state in the nation in education, according to the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress report.

Every year, every state tests 4th and 8th grade students in reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

It allows for a fair comparison state-to-state, and this year ours has reason to celebrate.

Fourth-grade students in the state went from 46th in the nation to 37th in math and from 41st to 31st in reading. Tennessee also saw very strong growth for African-American students.

The results also show Tennessee had the largest growth of any state in a single testing cycle since the national assessment started 10 years ago.

"No state ever has shown the gain that Tennessee made this year," Haslam said.

The governor was quick to credit teachers, students and his predecessor, former Gov. Phil Bredesen.

"It's not something that's going to happen in two years or four years. It's going to happen with two or three or four governors in a row who keep our noses to the grindstone and move things along," Bredesen said.

No one doubts the state still has room to grow. The test results rank our students' performance in the 30s for 4th graders and 30s and 40s for 8th graders.

But the improvement, and this moment, could symbolize momentum in the right direction.

"Nobody in this state is satisfied with being in the 30s. It's not who we are as a state. It's not who we want to be," Haslam said.

Tennessee also has three years of continuous growth on state assessments, more commonly known as the TCAP.

The governor said he would love to see teacher pay also lead the nation in improvement.

He would not, however, say how to pay for that growth fully, whether the state can foot the full cost or if local districts may have to face an unfunded mandate.

Click here for data on Tennessee's 2013 NAEP results.

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