Department of Education releases TCAP results

Empty school desks
Empty school desks(Pixabay via MGN)
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 3:55 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The Tennessee Department of Education released the 2021-22 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program state-level results, which show how the state’s and districts’ shared commitment to mitigating learning loss and investing in student achievement is helping students to recover and accelerate learning.

The results released Tuesday include both spring 2022 and fall 2021 end-of-course exams in English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, science and social studies.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tennessee maintained its commitment to an annual statewide assessment to provide reliable data on how students are performing, and this past school year reflects Tennessee schools moving forward with a statewide focus on helping students catch-up from a pandemic and accelerate their learning. Overall, the statewide 2021-22 TCAP student participation rate was 98% with 59 districts having participation higher than 99%.

Results from the 2021-22 TCAP assessments show that elementary students significantly improved their ELA scores and are performing at a level similar to pre-pandemic years. Additionally, improved performance in math was evident for Tennessee students of all ages. Every student group showed an increase in proficiency as demonstrated on the 2022 TCAP assessments.

“I am incredibly proud to be able to share Tennessee’s 2021-22 TCAP assessment results, which demonstrate the hard work of Tennessee’s districts, schools, educators, and families, the leadership of Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly and the incredible impacts all of these efforts have had on improving academic outcomes for students,” Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in a news release. “Tennessee’s gains to meet or exceed pre-pandemic proficiency levels were hard-earned, and now is the time to ensure we continue the policies, practices and programs that are supporting academic achievement.”

“These results mark encouraging strides for our students and also show the positive impact of early interventions to combat learning loss,” Gov. Lee said in a statement. “I commend Tennessee teachers for their work to help students make academic gains, close achievement gaps and prepare students for life beyond the classroom.”

Together, district and school leaders, educators and families have made tremendous efforts to support children, close gaps and accelerate learning, according to a news release. The 2021-22 TCAP results are the first look at the results of the monumental efforts. Click to view an overview of the 2021-22 TCAP results.

Key takeaways from the results include:

English Language Arts (ELA)

  • Notably, ELA proficiency has returned to pre-pandemic levels in almost all grades, with more students scoring Met and Exceeded than 2019, including:
  • A 6-point gain in elementary school proficiency, which reflects the highest proficiency the state has seen in the last five years.
  • A 6-point gain in middle school proficiency from 2021 and matches the pre-pandemic achievement.
  • A 7-point gain in high school proficiency, which reflects the highest proficiency the state has seen in the last five years.
  • 36.4% of Tennessee students are meeting grade level expectations in ELA.
  • Proficiency gains were reflected in all tested grades in ELA.
  • ELA-related state supports and initiatives: Reading 360; Tennessee Literacy Success Act; TN All Corps; universal implementation of high-quality instructional materials; summer camps; Best for All Central resources.


  • 3 in 10 Tennessee students are meeting grade level expectations in math.
  • Based on national projections, math recovered is expected to recover faster than ELA.
  • Growth in math matched or exceeded gains seen in previous years and is outpacing math projections for pandemic recovery. Between 35-55% of learning loss gaps are closed in math.
  • Math-related state supports and initiatives: TN All Corps; summer camps; Best for All Central resources; free online tutoring resources available for all students.
  • School Level Spotlight:
  • Elementary: A 4-point gain in proficiency, which reflects a 33% gap closure from the pandemic.
  • Middle: A 6-point gain in proficiency from 2021, which reflects a more than 50% gap closure from the pandemic.
  • High School: A 4-point gain in proficiency, which reflects a 50% gap closure from the pandemic.


  • Overall, proficiency rates held steady for science, with an increase of 2 percentage points.
  • All grade levels experienced an increase in students scoring Exceeded Expectations.
  • Science-related state supports and initiatives: Outgoing partnership with TSIN to expand STEM designated schools from 15 in 2018 to 88 in 2022; extended programming on PBS and Best for All Central resources; expanded STREAM programming in Tennessee summer camps.

Social Studies

  • Overall social studies proficiency has continued to increase since 2017.
  • Fewer students scored Below and Approaching, while more students scored Met and Exceeded Expectations.
  • Social Studies-related state supports and initiatives: Expanded resources on Best for All Central; strengthened the Governor’s Civic Seal program; strong statewide implementation of knowledge-building materials in English Language Arts.

In January 2021, Tennessee Gov. Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly convened a special legislative session on education, which addressed urgent issues facing Tennessee students and schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the special legislative session passed legislation on accountability, learning loss, literacy, and teacher pay. The Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act established summer learning loss bridge camps for elementary students to help them recover learning loss and accelerate their achievement. Additionally, the Tennessee Literacy Success Act was passed and laid a policy foundation for literacy in state to focus on improving literacy opportunities and ensure every student builds strong reading skills grounded in phonics.

In alignment with the Best for All strategic plan, the department recognized the impending impact the global pandemic would have on K-12 education in Tennessee and proactively and strategically committed investments to prioritize meeting the needs of all Tennessee students through the state’s ARP ESSER plan, which lays out the state’s spending strategy for its portion of federal COVID-19 relief and stimulus funding to benefit K-12 education in Tennessee.

TCAP results reflect summative assessments for English language arts, math, science, and social studies for grades 3-8, high school end-of-course (EOC) exams in English I and II, Algebra I and II, Geometry, Integrated Math I, II, and III; Biology, and U.S. History.

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