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Education

August 6, 2014

TCAP scores still “need improvement”

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Written by: News Staff
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TCAP

The State Department of Education released district level achievement data taken from last spring’s assessments for grades 3-high school. CMCSS remained in the same category as last year, in Need of Improvement. The purpose of these assessments is to provide feedback and they are only one snapshot of what students know. This data in addition to daily classroom data is used to improve classroom instruction and learning opportunities for students. Understanding where there are needs creates opportunities for professional development for teachers and affords students opportunities to learn the information in a more meaningful manner.

These scores represent a transition to a revised assessment which combined questions from two different curricula (the Tennessee Diploma Project and Common Core). “Consistent with the state, we saw gains in the high schools. The scores in grades 3-8 reading and math were relatively flat and as a district we did not meet our identified targets; however, there are many celebration points in which there was significant academic improvement,” said Kimmie Sucharski, accountability coordinator for CMCSS.

The state of Tennessee has moved to more rigorous assessments and set a higher expectation for proficiency. “Parents will see their students experiencing more challenging application of their learning, geared toward mastering the standards rather than just being proficient. This is a positive direction for the district and the state as we are preparing our students to be more globally competitive,” said Schools Director B.J. Worthington

“The assessments posed a challenge for us and across the state as they were multiple choice tests, but the instructional shifts in the classrooms were significant and encouraging. Although we did not meet our targets, we have traditionally not scored as well during curriculum and assessment transition years. We will continue this curriculum and assessment transition again this school year. Our summer work has supported teachers in better aligning learning activities to the rigorous curriculum standards and to classroom assessments. Teachers in this district work extremely hard and devote many evening and weekend hours to planning lessons and activities and we appreciate their dedication to their students.” said Mary Gist, director of middle schools.

As seen in state results, districts did well in high school in most subject areas. Statewide, growth in 3-8 reading dropped slightly and is an area of continued need for improvement. Results in 3-8 math, science, and social studies were largely flat or showed slight growth.

“Students are learning to do more advanced writing, citing evidence from the text, and showing their work in math, and we know that this work is important to get our students ready for post-secondary opportunities and the workforce. While the TCAP remains a multiple choice test that doesn’t reach all of these skills, we are pleased that there continues to be progress in most subject areas,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “As I have conversations with superintendents across the state, I hear the same thing over and over again: teachers are working hard, instruction keeps getting better, and students are learning at a higher level.”

Since the current administration took office in 2011, Tennessee students have made significant and sustained growth in academic achievement. In 2011, only 18 percent of districts had the majority of their students at or above grade level in 3-8 math, and this year that number is 57 percent. Similarly, in 2011, 49 percent of districts had the majority of high school students at or above grade level in Algebra I, as compared to 85 percent of districts that met that mark in 2014.

TCAP results are available for online viewing.

 



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