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Tennessee Second Grade Assessment Provides Feedback to Improve Student Outcomes

Thursday, November 02, 2017 | 10:20am

NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced the first year of results for students on the state's new optional Grade 2 assessment today. With these results, elementary schools and educators can improve instruction and strengthen supports to ensure that our youngest students are building fundamental literacy and math skills early in their academic careers.

Related Resources

2017 Grade 2 Results - State

"The state's new optional Grade 2 assessment allows us to see how our youngest students are mastering our state's standards from the beginning of their academic journey," McQueen said. "The Grade 2 assessment is one more tool we can use to help meet the needs of students with better information about readiness in math and reading." 

The new Grade 2 assessment is different than those from previous years in that it is criterion referenced and only assesses the Tennessee Academic Standards. The optional Grade 2 assessment was designed to provide important data and feedback to both second and third grade teachers to help ensure students are on track to master grade-level content from the early grades. For the first time the Grade 2 assessment measures the state's academic standards in a way that reflects what are students are learning in their classroom every day.

Early Foundations & Literacy is a priority area for the department, as laid out in the department's strategic plan, Tennessee Succeeds. To reach our goals as a state, as outlined in the strategic plan, the department has been implementing new strategies and supports to help districts and schools increase student outcomes for our early grades students. The optional Grade 2 assessment is one of the ways the department is helping districts measure their progress toward the state's goal of having 75 percent of third graders reading on grade level by 2025. 

More than two-thirds of school districts in the state chose to participate with 100 of 146 districts administering the optional Grade 2 assessment last spring. Though the assessment is optional, it is encouraging to see most districts participate and receive helpful results to guide their instruction.

Grade 2 scores fall into one of four achievement levels: mastered grade level, on grade level, approaching grade level, and below grade level expectations. Both mastered grade level and on grade level reflect student proficiency in the content. The 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. Families and teachers will also receive new score reports to help them support each student's individual needs.

As this was the first year of the optional Grade 2 assessment, the score results set a new baseline for future growth and cannot be compared to previous optional early grades assessments, which were norm referenced. For the optional Grade 2 assessment, only skills in English language arts and math are tested.

In English language arts on the optional Grade 2 assessment:

  • 30.3 percent of students are considered on grade level or mastered, 
  • 44.7 percent are approaching grade level, and
  • 25 percent are below grade-level expectations. 

In math on the optional Grade 2 assessment:

  • 41.3 percent of students are considered on grade level or mastered,
  • 32.9 percent are approaching grade level, and
  • 25.8 percent are below grade-level expectations.

For media inquiries, please contact Chandler Hopper, deputy director of communications, at or call (615) 248-7073.