State TCAP student testing for 2013 showing "sustained growth"

State TCAP student testing for 2013 showing "sustained growth"

June 27th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Tennessee public school students continued to do better on Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program testing as well as high school asessments in 2013, marking three years of continued improvement since the exams were made tougher, officials said today.

"The very good news this year is that really since implementation of Race to the Top started three years, we've had three consecutive years of overall growth on the TCAP," Gov. Bill Haslam said at a news conference as he and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman presented the 2012-2013 academic year results.

He said he is "grateful to our students and teachers for rising to the challenge of higher standards and to parents who are investing in their children's education."

The TCAP tests are given to students in grades 3-8, while high schoolers are given end-of-course exams.

TCAP results showed that, for the first time since more rigorous standards went into effect in 2009, more than half of students in grades 3-8 are on grade level in every tested TCAP achievement subject, reaching higher levels of proficiency on 22 of 24 tested subjects over 2012 results.

For high school students, there was strong growth, officials said, in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas over last year with proficiency percentages up by 8.7 percent in Algebra II, 6.4 points in biology and 5 points in Algebra I.

But by comparison, increases in high school proficiency rates weren't near as high for English I and III, increasing by two percent. And in English II, they actually moved backward by about one percentage point, the state says.

Officials said expect the scores to fall again in the 2014-2014 academic year when the state implements the new Common Core standards, a yet more rigorous system of testing developed by states, including Tennessee.