Tennessee Elementary and Middle School Students Set New Baseline with TNReady Results

Wednesday, October 04, 2017 | 09:23am

NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced TNReady results for students in grades 3-8 today, following an extended scoring and review process led by Tennessee educators. With these results, elementary and middle school students have set a new baseline for future growth, now aligned with our high school reset last year, based on the Tennessee academic standards that will better ensure all students are on track for the next step in their education journey.

TNReady results help teachers, students, and parents learn about students' strengths and areas for growth, and it provides specific feedback that can help parents understand how they can best support their child. TNReady replaces the old TCAP and is better aligned to Tennessee's academic standards, which were developed and set based on a comprehensive review process. It looks for what students know and are able to do in each grade, with a particular focus on students' problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills.

"TNReady allows us to see how Tennessee students are mastering our state's academic standards as we transition to higher expectations at all grade levels," McQueen said. "Students have now set a new baseline for future growth that reflects the higher bar we are holding for all of our students. This is a key moment for our state, as we are now transitioning to the point where we have a true understanding of where students are from elementary through high school, and we can use that information to better support their growth."

Overall, students' performance on TNReady reflects the readiness they show on national tests like the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), which is known as the Nation's Report Card and is a gold standard for assessments. In previous years, Tennessee's TCAP results did not match what exams like NAEP and the ACT showed, which earned the state an "F" from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2007 for "Truth in Advertising" about students' true readiness. The 2017 TNReady results reflect a similar level of performance to what Tennessee sees on national exams, and we know more students are now going on to be successful in college and the workplace.

TNReady scores fall into one of four achievement levels: mastered, on track, approaching, and below grade-level expectations. The new categories aim to help teachers and parents more easily identify which students may need additional support and which students are ready to excel—which is the goal of state assessments. Along with the new achievement levels, families and teachers will receive new score reports to help them support each student's individual needs.

This was the first year of TNReady for grades 3-8, and achievement results for English and math cannot be compared to prior TCAP scores. Instead, they set a new baseline for future growth.

For TNReady English in grades 3-8:

  • 5.7 percent of students are considered as having mastered the content,
  • 28.1 percent are on track,
  • 44.7 percent are approaching, and
  • 21.5 percent are below grade-level expectations.

In TNReady grades 3-8 math:

  • 8.9 percent of students are considered mastered,
  • 29.1 percent are on track,
  • 36.1 percent are approaching, and
  • 25.9 percent are below grade-level expectations.

The 2016-17 science exams were similar to previous years' TCAP tests, but it will transition to a dynamic exam that will assess the more rigorous science standards when those are implemented in the 2018-19 school year. The science exam still uses the old performance categories: advanced, proficient, below, and below basic.

For the 2016-17 science tests in grades 3-8:

  • 16.3 percent of students scored as advanced,
  • 42.2 percent of students scored as proficient,
  • 23.7 percent of students scored as below, and
  • 17.8 percent of students scored as below basic.

For the 2016-17 school year, social studies exams were field tested for grades 3-8 and therefore did not generate achievement results.

Students' achievement scores from the first year of TNReady in math and English cannot be compared to previous years' results from TCAP because TNReady has more challenging questions and is based on a different, more rigorous set of expectations developed by Tennessee educators. TNReady also includes different types of questions, including some for which students did not have answers to choose from, like short response and fill in the blank. For the first time, writing was included as a component in students' English scores, and students were not allowed to use a calculator on parts of the math assessment in order to determine the depth of their understanding. These adjustments help to ensure that all students are being prepared to be successful after high school.

District and school-level results will be shared later this fall, and districts are being mailed individual student results to share with each parent.

Updates and more information about TNReady, including the 2016-17 results for the high school End-of-Course exams, can be found at TNReady.gov. For media inquiries, please contact Sara Gast, director of communications, at Sara.Gast@tn.gov or call (615) 532-6260.