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Third- and Fourth-grade ELA TCAP Scores Show Continued Improvement

72 percent qualify for immediate promotion to fourth grade; 86 percent qualify for immediate promotion to fifth grade.

For the third consecutive year, Knox County Schools saw continued growth in third- and fourth- grade reading proficiency on the TCAP exams.

More than 43 percent of KCS third-graders and more than 50 percent of fourth-graders met or exceeded the expectations on the most recent English Language Arts TCAP assessment, according to numbers released by the Tennessee Department of Education on Thursday.

Across the county, 43.5 percent of KCS third-graders achieved proficiency, up from 42.9 percent last year and 38.3 percent two years ago. In fourth grade, 50.1 percent of students achieved proficiency, up from 47.8 percent last year and 45.1 percent two years ago. The statewide third-grade ELA proficiency rate is 40.9 percent and fourth-grade ELA proficiency rate is 46.4 percent. 

The results illustrate the lowest percent of KCS students in third and fourth grade scoring below or approaching on record.

“Our staff and students have worked hard and remained focused on our four priorities, and you’re seeing the results of that hard work and dedication in these results,” Superintendent Dr. Jon Rysewyk said. “We have made a commitment to protect our teacher’s time in the classroom so they can do what they do best: deliver high-quality instruction every day to prepare every student for life after graduation. I applaud our teachers for the expertise and determination they bring to accelerating student achievement.

I also want to recognize our principals for their intentionality and planning. Across the district, our school leaders have made strategic changes to their schedule to provide for time for tutoring and intervention, and these results are proof their work is paying off.

We anticipate seeing similar gains in other subject areas, and we look forward to sharing more results when the state releases that data later this month.”

Under recent state law, students must score above the proficiency cut on the ELA section of the TCAP or qualify for an exemption in order to be promoted without additional interventions. The total number of third-grade students who met the criteria to proceed to fourth grade without an intervention – either because of their score or due to an exemption – is 3,202 or 72 percent. This number is subject to increase based on decisions from the state to student appeals. The current number of fourth-grade students who met the criteria to proceed to fifth grade without an intervention is 3,870 or 86 percent. We anticipate this number increasing as we receive adequate growth targets from the state later this summer.

Students with an “approaching” score in third grade will be required to either attend a summer learning camp or participate in tutoring next school year to be promoted to fourth grade. Those whose scores are categorized as “below” will have to participate in both summer learning camp and tutoring to be promoted. Students who did not meet the proficiency cut in fourth grade will need to meet their adequate growth target to proceed to fifth grade. We expect to receive those numbers from the state later this month.

“We’re pleased to share that summer learning is already underway. This is just one example of our commitment to ensure every student has a path to promotion," Dr. Keith Wilson, Assistant Superintendent of Academics, said. “We are encouraged by and proud of these results and will continue to work diligently to build literacy proficiency in every student.”

At KCS, early literacy is a key component of the district’s Excellence in Foundational Skills priority. The district has prioritized several initiatives aimed at increasing student achievement and performance, including investments in high-quality teaching materials, professional development, and early interventions including tutoring and extended learning options.