• Literacy and 3rd Grade Retention Law

    The Tennessee General Assembly has revised the state’s law regarding the promotion of students from third grade, T.C.A. § 49-6-3115, and requires students who are determined to need additional supports in reading to receive them before being promoted to fourth grade.

    »  Frequently Asked Questions  » Policies  » Promotion Timeline





  • How can you support literacy development at home?


    Early Literacy

    Governor's Early Literacy Foundation - Family Reading Time at Home Guides

    Looking for a way to enrich story time with your child? These one-page help sheets provide families with discussion questions, activities, and a helpful book summary – all designed to make reading even more fun!

    K-3 Toolkit

    K-3 Home Learning Toolkit - Developmental Themes, Suggested Books & Activities

    Practice makes reading and writing easier, and this list of family-friendly activities will help support literacy development at home.


    Reading 360 - Family Reading Resources

    Students can learn a lot about reading from their families. This flyer provides activities to promote the sounds-first approach to reading, to model positive reading behaviors, and to support struggling readers.

    Scholars Guides

    KCS Summer Scholars Guide

    The KCS Summer Scholars Guide is a resource for grades K-8 families to minimize summer learning loss and prepare for the upcoming school year. These optional activities help students maintain and expand their academic growth over the summer, with review material from the previous year and academic goals for the upcoming year. It also includes a list of reading topics and suggested educational websites.

    Starting with Sounds

    Starting with Sounds

    In collaboration with Tennessee’s six PBS stations, the Tennessee Department of Education created “Starting with Sounds” to highlight the importance of early literacy and how families and students can practice reading.

    Literacy Foundational Skills Online Tool

    Literacy Foundational Skills Online Tool

    Practice makes reading and writing easier, and this list of family-friendly activities will help support literacy development at home.

  • What Parents Need to Know

    The law (TCA 49-6-3115) requires that students who score in the bottom two achievement categories on the literacy component of the 3rd grade TCAP, our state’s annual comprehensive assessment, receive certain supports or be retained in the third grade. Those supports are summer school and/or tutoring.

    To meet the expectations of this law, Knox County Schools will be expanding our summer school options for rising fourth graders and expanding our literacy tutoring offerings for fourth grade students in the 2023-24 school year.



    • Summer School OR
    • Tutoring


    • Summer School AND
    • Tutoring


    Exemptions from the required supports and possible retention

    •   English learners who have received less than two years of ELA instruction
    •   A student who was previously retained
    •   A student who retests before the next school year and scores proficient in ELA

    When will I know if this applies to my student?

    We expect 3rd grade TCAP scores to be returned to the district in late May. We will contact parents with their student’s 3rd grade scores immediately following their release, along with the options for summer school and/or tutoring.

    We will use our universal reading screener in November and March, to make our best prediction of whether or not your student is likely to fall into the below or approaching categories on TCAP.

    Following the completion of the required supports, the decision on whether or not a student will be retained will be made following the 4th grade TCAP assessment. The law states that a student be retained in 4th grade if they do not make adequate progress on the 4th grade TCAP.

    The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) is required in the law to define adequate progress. TDOE has not yet released that information.

    Note: As KCS currently interprets and understands the law, students with disabilities, reading deficits, and/or suspected reading deficits as defined by a student’s IEP and/or the initiation of an S-Team whose disability or suspected disability are the likely cause of their reading achievement scores, will NOT be retained, regardless of whether or not the student meets TDOE’s threshold.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    More information is available at knoxschools.org/thirdgraderetention.