Tennessee students improved in nearly every math subject, including algebra and geometry, on the latest state tests. And in English, older students showed gains across the board, although elementary and middle school students showed little or no improvement.

Overall, more than half the schools in Tennessee – 56 percent – improved in most subjects from the previous year, according to a state summary of the TNReady and end0-of-course test data. And 41% of all schools had the highest levels of year-to-year growth, earning a level 4 or 5 under the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, known as TVAAS.

Test score data for every public school in Tennessee was released Thursday by the state Department of Education. Individual student scores will be released later to parents by the districts.

This is the fourth year of TNReady testing, and the first in the last three to go smoothly. Because of widespread computer glitches, last year’s scores didn’t count against districts, schools, teachers, or students for accountability purposes.

Math scores up across the state

More than 40% of elementary and middle school students met the state’s proficiency standards in math compared to 36.5% in 2018.

High school students have steadily improved in math over the last three years, according to a Chalkbeat analysis of school test data from 2017, 2018 and 2019:

  • About 27.4% of students across the state met state proficiency standards in Algebra I this past spring, compared to 23.9% in 2018 and 21.6% in 2017.
  • Similarly, 27.4% of students who took Algebra II met state proficiency standards, up from 26.4% in 2018 and 23.5% in 2017.
  • And in geometry, 33.9% of students met state proficiency standards, up from 28% a year ago and 26.5% in 2017.

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“I’m impressed with the improvement we’ve seen in mathematics” state education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in a statement. “The dedication of our educators, commitment to implementing high-quality materials, and unwavering student focus is what sets Tennessee apart and will continue to be the catalyst for moving our state forward.”

English scores improve for older students

High school students showed the most improvement in English, with 32.7% of English I test takers meeting state proficiency standards compared to 25.3% in 2018. Similarly in English II, 42.7% of students met that benchmark compared to 35.2% the year before.

However, the results were less encouraging for younger students as the percent of elementary and middle school students in grades 3-8 who met state proficiency standards in English dipped slightly from 33.9% to 33.7%. Improvement in the critical third-grade group remained stagnant with 36.9% of the state’s third-graders considered to be proficient readers compared to 36.8% in 2018. 

Third-grade literacy scores are among the most scrutinized data set because that’s the year when many students transition from learning to read to reading to learn, and reading is considered the foundation for success in other subjects. 

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You can search our database below to find out how students in your school performed. The results show the percentage of students in each school who are proficient or above. Some scores have been redacted  because there were not enough valid samples or the overall average was less than 1% or greater than 99%.