The Commercial Appeal

Tenn. students show gains on TCAP scores

More than half in grades 3-8 at grade level

- By Richard Locker

NASHVILLE — As a whole, Tennessee students performed better on the 2013 Tennessee Comprehens­ive Assessment Program tests than the year before, marking three consecutiv­e years of improvemen­t, the state Department of Education announced Thursday.

For the first time since Tennessee implemente­d more rigorous standards in 2009, more than half of students in grades 3 through 8 overall tested at grade level, defined as “proficient” or “advanced,” in every TCAP subject.

The results varied by grade level. More than half of high school students, as a whole, tested proficient or advanced in five of the seven end-of-course subjects tested.

District-level results won’t be released for about three weeks, but Education Commission­er Kevin Huffman said the four urban school systems, including Memphis-Shelby County Schools, comprise about onethird of the statewide results.

Students take TCAP tests in the spring. Students in grades 3 through 8 are tested in four subjects: reading/ language arts, math, science and social studies. High school students take TCAP end-of-course tests in English 1, English 2 and English 3, algebra 1, algebra 2, biology 1 and U. S. history.

For grades 3-8 as a whole, 50.3 percent of students were proficient or advanced in reading/ language arts, up from 49.9 percent in 2012; 50.7 percent were proficient or advanced in math, up from 47.2 percent; 62.6 percent were proficient or advanced in science, up from 60.5 percent, and 84.8 percent were proficient or advanced in social studies, up from 82.9. Across the six grade levels, students made gains on 22 of the 24 tested subjects — all except fifth- and eighth-grade reading/language arts.

For grades 9 through 12 as a whole, students showed gains in all the tested subjects except English 2, where the percentage who tested proficient or advanced dropped from 60.7 percent in 2012 to 59.5 percent in 2013. Students in English 1 im-

who tested proficient or advanced in 2012 to 68.1 percent this year; English 3 increased from 37.8 percent to 39.6 percent; algebra 1 increased from 55.3 to 60.3 percent; algebra 2, from 33.3 to 42 percent; biology 1, from 55.9 to 62.3 percent, and U.S. history, from 95.3 percent to 96.1 percent.

Nearly 91,000 additional students across all grade levels are at or above grade level in math, as compared to 2010.

“I am grateful to our students and teachers for rising to the challenge of higher standards and to parents who are investing in their children’s education,” said Gov. Bill Haslam, who joined his education commission­er at the release of the new numbers. “It is encouragin­g that we continue to make gains in education, and we are reminded that we have a lot of work ahead of us in building a strong Tennessee workforce for the future.”

Complete TCAP results are available online at the state Department of Education’s website education.

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