State releases 2015 district-level TCAP results

Results show districts make gains in math and science

NASHVILLE (WATE) – The Tennessee Department of Education released Wednesday, district-level results from the 2015 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP), which show strong gains in high school and significant gains in grades third through eighth grade math.

Numbers for Knox County Schools show it met all of its 11 achievement targets set by the Tennessee Department of Education. The data also shows the district closed out 11 of 16 achievement gaps that are based off of income, race, disability and language.

Some of the biggest growths were in high school algebra. From 2011 to 2015, there was an 18.6 percent increase, and now 65.3 percent of students are testing proficient or advanced in Algebra I.

In Algebra II, there has been an 11.5 percent increase in the last 5 years, with 62.8 percent of students testing proficient or advanced.

“I think what the results show is when you put effort and energy and resources and support toward a particular goal, you’re going to see progress there,” said Knox County Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre. “Mathematics has been a place where we’ve really invested a lot and put a lot of focus and energy and we’re seeing great progress there. I mean remarkable progress there.”

However, not all of the TCAP results are as encouraging. Some numbers suggest the district may have a reading problem.

Over the last couple of years, reading scores for Knox County students have steadily decreased in multiple grades. For example, fourth grade reading numbers that have dropped seven percentage points since 2013, four percentage points just this year. That means only 46.2 percent of Knox County fourth graders tested proficient in reading.

“If you compare this past year’s fourth graders to the prior year’s fourth graders, you do see a little bit of a decrease in proficiency,” said Dr. McIntyre, “but if you look at those same students when they were third graders, and then their progress when they moved into fourth grade, you actually see an increase if you look at it from a cohort perspective.”

Dr. McIntyre said there will be more intervention this year to help with those struggling readers.

Statewide numbers

Results show majority of the students in nearly 100 districts were proficient in math, compared to 2011, when majority of students were proficient in math in only 24 districts.

“The support districts have offered to teachers and students has evolved as we have raised expectations for learning across the state,” Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “The sustained growth in high school and math and science shows us that the strategies and practices districts are using work. Now we have an opportunity to understand what has helped move student learning and replicate this in all grades and subjects, ensuring that Tennessee students have every opportunity to succeed.”

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Districts showed significant gains specifically in third through eighth grade math with 121 districts out of 144 improving, the report showed. In addition, for the first time since the test was given in 2011, the majority of students were proficient or advanced in Algebra II in more than 65 percent of districts.

District results highlights

  • In addition, for the first time since the test was given in 2011, the majority of students were proficient or advanced in Algebra II in 66 percent of districts.
  • The majority of Tennessee districts continued to make gains in science across grade levels. Notably, nearly 100 districts made gains in Chemistry.
  • As seen in state results, growth in grades 3-8 English language arts declined across districts, while the majority of districts made gains the high school courses English I and English III.
  • Black, Hispanic, and Native American students narrowed gaps in both math and English language arts in the majority of districts.
  • Economically disadvantaged students also narrowed gaps with their peers in high school, making gains in English II in 65 percent of districts and making gains in Algebra II in 77 percent of districts.

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