Tennessee test scores drop to lowest level in more than decade

The first data since 2019 shows the pandemic had a major impact on Tennessee test scores.
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 9:21 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A strong message is being sent from the U.S. Secretary of Education after the nation received its report card on Monday.

School test scores from earlier this year showed a significant decline across the board from the last testing in 2019.

Tennessee test scores on the National Report Card dropped to the lowest level in more than a decade. Officials said the pandemic and students being out of the classroom is to blame for the decline.

The report includes test results from fourth and eighth graders on math and reading. It shows only up to one-third of Tennessee students were proficient with big grade drops for students of color and English leaders.

Fourth grade had its lowest math and reading scores since 2011. Eighth grade was even worse with its lowest math scores since 2005 and the lowest reading score since 1998.

The Tennessee Department of Education said it has already launched efforts to prevent learning loss. That includes $4 billion for summer camps and reading programs, but it did not stop scores from falling.

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn released a statement about the drastic decline that said the state is taking steps to get students back to pre-pandemic academic levels.

“Importantly, our teachers and students are already seeing improvements as a result of their hard work and focus on early literacy, tutoring, summer programming and other academic programs that our state has launched in the past year to boost achievement,” Schwinn said in the statement. “The challenges of the pandemic will continue to impact students for years to come, and we must continue forward with a relentless commitment to doing what is best for kids – we must double-down on what works, with an unwavering focus on high-quality implementation of strategic initiatives that meets every single student where they are and elevates and accelerates their learning.”

Tennessee ranked around the midpoint in most categories on the National Report Card.