3rd Grade Retention Update

3rd Grade Retention Update
Posted on 05/22/2023
Volunteer reading to child

Parents and families of 3rd grade students are being notified today by schools about the 3rd Grade TCAP ELA scores. Raw data was provided to MNPS late Friday afternoon and processed over the weekend and provided to schools. Principals, teachers, and administrators will be contacting families through a combination of phone calls, emails, and backpack letters to notify them of their child’s results along with the required interventions.

“It is important for children, parents, and the community to understand that if a student didn’t score proficient on this one test, it does not mean they failed, that they cannot read, or that they are not making learning progress,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Metro Schools. “Tennessee has some of the highest standards in the nation for student expectations, and while we all strive to help them meet those goals, students all start from different places, and teachers work hard to ensure they are making growth and progress in their learning journey. While we did not agree with this law, we are required to implement it and are committed to working with every family to make sure their students are provided the opportunities necessary to be promoted to the 4th grade.”

Guidance from the Tennessee Department of Education is that district-level TCAP scores are not public information until the state releases the final scores later this summer.

We are currently projecting that up to 62% of 3rd grade students may be exempt from the retention law due to either meeting or exceeding expectations on the 3rd grade ELA portion of TCAP, having a suspected reading disability, English Learner status, or having previously been retained. Decisions about exemptions based on EL status and having a suspected reading disability are made at the school level based on an individual student assessment, so the number of actual exemptions may change.

The TDOE will process appeals filed by parents if their student is in the “approaching” category on the TCAP. The appeal form will have two options: if a student places in the 40th percentile or higher on their spring reading screener assessment, or if they have an emergency hardship.

We estimate that an additional 12% of students may be eligible for an appeal for exemption based on the screening assessment. Parents of students who are eligible for an appeal are being contacted directly by the school to assist in the process. Families have 14 days from the delivery of TCAP results to file an appeal per state guidance. The TDOE has set the appeal window as May 30 through June 30 and MNPS will inform families when the appeal form has opened.

Students who scored below or approaching, and are not yet identified as exempt, will be offered a TCAP re-take test between May 22 and May 24 at their school. The re-take examination is designed by the TDOE to be conducted online and represents the reading portion of the TCAP ELA test. It is approximately 75 minutes in length. The TDOE has said results will be provided to the district within two days of testing. Schools will notify parents of those results when they are available.

We estimate approximately 39% of students will qualify for the re-take examination.

If a student scores proficient on the TCAP reading re-take, they will be exempt from the retention law. If a student moves from “below” to “approaching” in the re-take, they will be subject to the “approaching” provisions of the state law that include only one required intervention and offer an option to appeal.

Promising Scholars Summer Program

Throughout the year, we have encouraged all 3rd grade families to sign up for Promising Scholars, our summer learning program, which starts June 1. As of Friday, May 19, there were approximately 3,700 3rd grade students registered to attend. Registration will continue to remain open through the start of Promising Scholars for students who require this intervention to be promoted.

Students who attend Promising Scholars will be required to maintain 90% attendance and will be given a state-created post-test assessment at the end of the program. Students will be required to achieve a 5% growth in their score between the reading portion of the 3rd grade ELA TCAP and the post-assessment. Students who move from “below” to “achieving” through the re-take assessment (conducted May 22-24) will have that new score serve as their baseline.

Tutoring Program Available 

Accelerating Scholars, our high-impact tutoring program, will serve as the intervention for students who score “below expectations” and require two interventions in order to be promoted, or for those who scored “approaching” but either did not attend Promising Scholars or did not meet the adequate growth threshold. Students who require this intervention will be assigned tutoring opportunities accordingly.

Third Grade Promotion and Retention

Read more information on the the state of Tennessee's Third Grade retention and promotion law

Third Grade