Governor Bill Haslam and State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman on Tuesday announced that statewide student performance on the 2012 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) improved for the second year in a row, as the state continues to push toward academic achievement through its First to the Top education reforms.
Students reached higher levels of proficiency in 23 of 24 TCAP achievement tests in grades three through eight. Achievement also increased on most high school “End of Course” exams.
“The continued success of students is a testament to how much work Tennessee teachers have done in the classroom,” Governor Haslam said during the event at West End Middle School in Nashville. “We’re so proud of our students, teachers and parents for supporting statewide efforts to improve education, and it is exciting to see gains for a second year in a row.”
TCAP results show that after two years of steady increases, half of students in grades three through eight were reading at grade level or above during the 2011-12 school year.
Additionally, 47 percent of students scored proficient or advanced in math — about 55,000 more than were on grade level two years ago. More than 60 percent of students were proficient or advanced in science — 38,000 more students than in 2010.
In high school, more than half of students scored proficient or advanced in English I, English II, Algebra I, biology and history for the first time since Tennessee raised its standards three years ago.
“The growth we’ve seen on statewide assessments over the past two years is an impressive start, and shows that we are on the right track,” Commissioner Huffman said. “But we still have considerable work to do to improve student outcomes and narrow the educational gaps that exist in our schools. For now, we celebrate this success, as it gives us the encouragement we need to press forward with the hard work ahead.”
To improve the quality of education in Tennessee, TCAP Achievement tests and End of Course exams became aligned with more strategic and rigorous standards in 2009, a result of the Tennessee Diploma Project. In the face of higher standards, students have demonstrated growth on the assessments each year as Tennessee strives to become the fastest-improving state educational system in the nation.
The governor and commissioner were joined for the announcement by House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville).
Speaker Harwell said, "The General Assembly has made reforming education a priority over the last several years as we implemented Race to the Top. As part of that process, we asked a lot of our educators and students. Today, with the release of these results, I am very proud of our teachers and students across the state that met the challenge head on and exceeded our expectations. Tennessee students are ready to advance in their education and are on the path to a brighter future.”
Chairman Richard Montgomery said, “When we implemented the Race to the Top program two years ago, we asked more of teachers and students. Today, we know they answered that call. Our valued teachers have done an excellent job reaching the very high bar we set, and there has been faster growth than expected in the critical subjects of science and math. As Chairman of the House Education Committee, I applaud the hard work of our educators and students on this significant accomplishment.”