TDOE Releases Final 2023 TCAP 3rd Grade Appeals Data

Wednesday, July 19, 2023 | 03:30pm


Nashville, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education released final data about third grade retention appeals, as the window for families to submit an appeal of decisions about their student’s potential retention in third grade closed on June 30, 2023. 

The Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act passed in 2021 set forth key academic supports for third grade students who did not score proficient on the English language arts (ELA) portion of their TCAP assessment, and updated requirements for these students to move to the next grade via multiple pathways for fourth grade promotion. While some third grade students may meet certain exceptions outlined in the law, third grade students who scored “approaching” or “below” can access academic supports including free summer camp and tutoring in their fourth-grade year, and students who scored “approaching” had an additional opportunity to submit an appeal of a potential retention decision.  

Since the appeals window opened on May 30, 2023, the department received 10,572 appeal forms representing 9,054 unique students. Of these unique students, 7,812 students received approval on their appeal, and 685 students received a denial of their appeal. Additionally, 557 appeals that were submitted were not applicable. 

“Throughout the summer, students, as well as their families, have remained engaged in making the best possible decisions about their education, seeking out academic supports in summer camp and tutoring during the upcoming school year,” said Lizzette Reynolds, Commissioner of Education. “Looking ahead, the department will continue to support districts and schools to ensure all students can get a great education in the coming school year, through strong classroom instruction and additional learning supports like tutoring.”  

The department plans to release information about third graders who successfully complete requirements for the summer camp promotion pathway soon.  

Recap of Earlier Published Information on Fourth Grade Promotion

Beginning this summer, third grade students scoring “approaching” or “below” on the ELA portion of the spring TCAP assessment had multiple pathways to fourth grade promotion, including the TCAP retake opportunity, free summer camp and/or tutoring in the upcoming school year.  

If a third grade student received a score of "approaching,” the child's family had the opportunity to submit an appeal within 14 days of local notification of receiving the decision of potential retention from their child's school, documenting their child's academic attainment on one of Tennessee’s approved Universal Reading Screeners or an event that impacted the child's ability to perform well on the TCAP.

Legislation proposed by Governor Bill Lee and passed earlier this year by the Tennessee General Assembly expanded summer camp opportunities to more students, including rising kindergarten through rising ninth grade students, providing additional learning supports to more grades and meeting the participation requirements, including summer programming and tutoring supports, for promotion to fourth grade for eligible third grade students.

On May 22nd, the department released statewide averages for third grade TCAP ELA scores ahead of previous years’ timelines, highlighting historic gains in third grade reading after the launch of a new, comprehensive K-3 literacy strategy for Tennessee public schools. Then, on May 24th, the department released district-level 2023 TCAP performance averages for third grade English Language Arts (ELA). Access the 2023 TCAP ELA average scores for each district here

On June 7th, the department released data about student participation in the TCAP retake opportunity. The data, accessible here, included district-level percentages of third grade students who were eligible to take the retake, who participated in the TCAP retake, and who improved their performance on the TCAP retake, benefitting from participating in this pathway to promotion to fourth grade in the upcoming school year. Of 44,395 Tennessee third grade students eligible to participate in the TCAP retake, 26,239 eligible students took the TCAP retake assessment. Statewide, 12.77% of retakers scored proficient and successfully completed the requirements of this pathway to promotion to fourth grade. Students who participated in the retake opportunity and did not score proficiently are also able to participate in other pathways to promotion to fourth grade, including summer camp and/or tutoring in the upcoming school year.

This year, TCAP assessment data is available on a new interactive dashboard on the State Report Card, labeled “2023 Assessment.” This new section will help students and families, educators, district and school leaders, and policymakers visualize TCAP assessment results and have a better understanding of 2023 statewide TCAP performance. To learn more about how to view data on the interactive dashboard, watch this short overview video here.

Find additional information about Tennessee’s third grade acceleration strategy here. Read more about Reading 360 here. For media inquiries, contact