Immigrant families in Nashville struggle with TCAP results

“She has to retake it today, so, there is no chance for us as parents to help them restudy,” Farag said.
Immigrant families struggling with TCAP test
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 6:28 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - This week, thousands of third grade students across Tennessee were able to retake the English Language Arts portion of the TCAP test.

The Tennessee Department of Education said 60% of students in the state did not pass this section of the exam, which means they may have to repeat third grade.

A Nashville dad, Basen Farag, who immigrated from Egypt, says his daughter is a student of Metro Nashville Public Schools who retook the test Tuesday. Farag added the TCAP is taking a toll on immigrant families.

“It’s the worst experience I’ve ever had,” Farag said.

His daughter, Sara Farag, goes to May Werthan Shayne Elementary School. He found out Monday that his daughter didn’t pass the ELA portion and needed to retake it. He said that is too quick of a turnaround for them to pinpoint what area she needs to focus on and study again.

“She has to retake it today, so, there is no chance for us as parents to help them restudy,” Farag said.

English is Sara Farag’s first language, so, she’s not exempt from the retake, summer school, or potentially tutoring next year. Basen Farag is an immigrant. English is not his first language, which makes helping his daughter with her homework a challenge.

“Sometimes we struggle with the definition of a word,” Farag said. “For the definition of some words we have to use Google if we are struggling.”

He said they do everything for their kids to succeed.

“My wife quit her job to be with them, with my children, to help them over the summer,” Farag said.

TDOE says retake results will be available 48 hours after a child takes it. As for the Farag family, their trip back to Egypt is on hold since they don’t know Sara’s results and if she’ll need summer school.

Farag said this test has put so much pressure on his daughter.

“Even her sister was like, ‘What are we going to do now?’ Because they were blaming her,” Farag added.

If a student doesn’t pass the retake they can make an appeal next week, starting on May 30. They have 14 days to make the appeal once they find out from their child’s school if they are at risk of retention.