In 2021, the Tennessee General Assembly updated state law to ensure all students have the support they need to read and perform on grade level.
Specifically, all school districts and public charter schools must use phonics instruction, high-quality materials, and administer an approved universal reading screener three times a year to all students in grades K-3 and provide a home literacy report. Additionally, all school districts and public charter schools now offer free reading supports and resources, summer programming, and small-group tutoring.
For some 3rd grade students in Tennessee, this updated law requires the student and their family to make some important decisions. Beginning in the 2022-23 school year, 3rd grade students who receive “approaching” or “below” on the English Language Arts (ELA) section of the TCAP assessment are able to get important learning supports from their school for free to ensure they are ready to move on to the 4th grade.
If a student’s family does not wish to take advantage of these supports, which are outlined below, the student will be retained to 3rd grade the following school year and will not be promoted to 4th grade. However, the following students are exempt from 3rd grade retention: English learners with less than two years of ELA instruction, students previously retained in grades K-3, students with a disability that impacts reading or students with a suspected disability that impacts reading.
Your student’s school will notify you if your student is identified for retention and will provide information to you about the pathways that are available to your student to be able to move to 4th grade, including free summer camps and/or tutoring supports.
Universal Reading Screener
Reading is the foundation for all learning, and reading proficiently by 3rd grade is a critical milestone for every student.
As part of the updated state law, school districts and public charter schools are required to offer an approved universal reading screener three times a year to students in grades K-3 and provide families with a home literacy report to share their student's reading progress.
Contact your child's school to learn more about the screener administered in your district.
TN ALL Corps
For students that need additional support, the Tennessee Accelerating Literacy and Learning Corps (TN ALL Corps) is available for students in grades 1-8.
Tutoring is focused on reading and math takes place in small groups for 30-45 minutes, two to three times per week during the entire semester.
Each participating school district across the state has customized the structure of their tutoring program to fit within their school community.
Third grade students who do not receive "exceeds" or "meets" expectations on the ELA section of the TCAP assessment can participate in the TN ALL Corps program in their school district during their 4th grade year.
To sign your child up for TN ALL Corps, contact your district.
During the summer, rising kindergartners through rising 9th graders can also participate in the summer camps offered over the course of four weeks to cover literacy and math.
The structure, dates and logistics of each summer camp is determined by each individual district.
Third grade students who do not receive "exceeds" or "meets" expectations on the ELA section of the TCAP assessment can attend the summer camp in their district to be promoted to the 4th grade.
Contact your child's district to learn more about summer camps.
Parent Appeals Forms
If a 3rd grade student receives "approaching" on the ELA portion of the TCAP, the child's parent may also submit an appeal within 14 days of receiving the retention decision from their child's school, documenting their child's growth on an approved benchmark of the Tennessee Universal Reading Screener or an event that impacts a child's ability to perform well on an assessment. Appeals must be submitted by parents/ legal guardians.
NOTE: THE WINDOW FOR FAMILIES TO SUBMIT AN APPEAL BEGAN MAY 30, 2023 AND ENDED JUNE 30, 2023.
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- SPEAR Attendance & Math 1-3 Pre/Post-Test Reporting
- SPEAR Checklist
- SPEAR Set Up
- Summer Programming ePlan Application Technical Guidance
- Summer Programming Enrollment Template
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- Training for Alternative and Aspiring Educators
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Third Grade Promotion
- Determining Adequate Growth Overview
- Third Grade Retake Guidance
- Third Grade Retake Overview
- Third Grade Appeals Process Overview
- Third Grade Promotion Timeline
- Third Grade Promotion FAQs
- Third Grade Remediation Toolkit
- Pathways to 4th Grade Flow Chart Sizes to Download: