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How East TN school districts are preparing for TCAP scores, third grade retention

Everything your family needs to know about the release of TCAP scores for your third graders and how your school district is preparing.

TENNESSEE, USA — This is the first year the controversial Third Grade Retention Law is in effect. The law's rollout has sparked heated conversations between lawmakers, education activists, parents and school districts across the state.

If students do not score proficient on the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) exam, they are at risk of being held back in the third grade. 

Based on the students' scores, they do have options. They can choose to attend a summer learning program, receive tutoring in the fourth grade or retake the test. 

The Tennessee Department of Education is expected to release raw scores to districts on May 19. This will determine if a student scored proficient on the test or not. Then it is up to the district to distribute these scores to parents. 

If a student chooses to attend a summer learning program, they are required 90% attendance at the camp. The student will also take a post-camp test and must show "adequate" growth in order to be promoted to the fourth grade. 

We reached out to East Tennessee school districts to hear their plans for the release of TCAP scores, summer learning programs and tutoring. 

You can read more about the deadlines, options and discussions about what's next here

Here is what we've learned. 

Knox County Schools 

  • Release of Scores
    • Scores are expected to be released to the district on May 19. Parents will be contacted immediately following their release along with options for summer school or tutoring. 
  • Summer Learning program options
    • Summer learning camp is offered June 5-28.
    • KCS is prioritizing seats for rising fourth graders who could be required to attend.
    • Bus transportation is provided. If a family chooses to attend a site other than their zoned or assigned location, they will be required to provide their own transportation. 
    • Free breakfast and lunch are provided.
  • TCAP retake options
    • The retake period is May 22-June 5. The scores of this retake will be available for viewing within 48 hours.
  • Free tutoring program
    • KCS will use TN ALL Corps tutoring for students during the fourth grade.

Jefferson County Schools

  • Release of Scores
    • The district will mail TCAP results to families of third graders by June 9.
  • Summer Learning program options
    • The summer learning program runs from June 5 to June 26. The district is offering make-up days for third graders on June 27, 28, 29 and 30. 
    • Parents are asked to enroll their students now as a precaution based on how the school thinks the student may score.
    • The district says it is fully staffed for its summer programs. 
    • Transportation is provided for students through state funding. The district will run 25 buses this summer. 
  • TCAP retake options
    • Students have the option to retake the TCAP test on May 30 and 31. 
    • The district will communicate with the families of third graders that may benefit most from the retake opportunity using the raw TCAP scores.  
  • Free tutoring program
    • Free tutoring is offered through TN ALL Corps, which is funded by the state.
    • Jefferson County Schools has used this program for the past two years. It has several full-time and part-time tutors. Many are retired teachers.
    • Tutoring is offered to all students who need it as a qualification. It could either be one-on-one or small group. 
    • The district will give an opportunity to high school students in the Teaching as a Profession class the opportunity to be paid tutors after receiving training.
  • Parent appeals 
    • The school will support families who may meet the criteria for submitting an appeal to the TDOE if their student scores "approaching" on the TCAP.

Cocke County Schools

  • Release of Scores
    • A letter will be sent home with students on May 22 explaining the student's score and implications for summer school.
    • Other letters have already been sent home during the school year to let parents know if their child is at risk of retention. This information was based on the student's performance on the standards-based benchmark assessment and Universal Screener. 
  • Summer Learning program options
    • Summer school is offered June 6-30 at six school sites. Three make-up days will be offered in July for students who missed due to illness or other reasons. 
    • Classes will be kept at a 1:10 ratio. The district will hire assistants for classes if needed. 
    • Each school has a site coordinator to develop the schedule and make sure TDOE requirements are met. 
  • TCAP retake options
    • A retake will be offered on May 31. Each elementary school will be open and providing the test. 
    • Any student who scores "basic" or "approaching" may participate. 
  • Free tutoring program
    • Currently, the tutoring ratio is 1:3 in third grade, but if more students need tutoring, the district may need to hire more tutors just to cover this grade. 
  • Parent appeals
    • Only students who score "approaching" are allowed to file an appeal. An appeal could be granted if the student experienced a catastrophic event or scored above the 40th percentile on the universal screening. 
    • The appeal only exempts students from receiving tutoring the following school year. They must still show adequate growth in fourth grade. 

Oak Ridge Schools

  • Release of Scores
    • Families will be notified by May 22 if a student is identified as "not proficient" by the state. Families then can decide if their student will retake the exam or not. 
  • Summer Learning program options
    • Summer school is provided to all students who need it. Those dates are June 5-30.
    • Transportation, breakfast and lunch are provided for all students. 
  • TCAP retake options
    • A retake option will be provided for parents, and within 48 hours, families will receive a phone call alerting them of their child's scores. 
  • Free tutoring program
    • Tutoring is available for all students who need it. 

Maryville City Schools

  • Release of Scores
    • The district expects an official release of scores on May 26. 
  • Summer Learning program options
    • The first day of summer learning camp is May 23. Transportation is provided for all students. 
  • TCAP retake options
    • The district will provide "sufficient opportunities: for any parents requesting a retake for their child. "
    • All retake scores will be reported on June 7.
  • Free tutoring program
    • A position was hired this year dedicated to free tutoring for rising fourth graders who will need the intervention method as a result of their TCAP scores. 
  • Parent appeals 
    • The school will provide in-person technology assistance for parents completing the appeal forms if needed.
    • That form is open from May 30 to June 13.

Alcoa City Schools

  • Release of Scores
    • All parents of "non-proficient" students will be notified on May 22 and 23 to discuss options relevant to the student.
  • Summer Learning program options
    • Third grade teachers met with families of students during the school year to make recommendations for students to attend a summer learning program. 
    • If a student is not signed up for the program at the time of score release, a seat will be held for those students in anticipation. 
    • Normal bus routes will run for students attending summer school.
  • TCAP retake options
    • A retake day is scheduled for May 30. Any student who scored non-proficient can retake.
    • No buses will run this day. Parents are required to take their students. 
  • Free tutoring program
    • Alcoa City Schools is working on several options for tutoring including partnerships with the Boys & Girls Club. It is waiting for additional guidance from the state regarding requirements. 

Sevier County Schools

  • Release of Scores
    • Parents will receive TCAP scores as soon as the reports are made available to the district. 
  • Summer Learning program options
    •  Summer camps will be offered Monday to Thursday from June 5-29 to rising grades K-9 students with bus transportation available for those students who need it.
  • TCAP retake options
    •  Eligible students will be offered an opportunity to complete the third grade ELA retake assessment prior to the beginning of summer camp.
  • Free tutoring program
    • Tutoring programs are available in each school.

There is still quite a bit of uncertainty on what the roll-out of this law will look like, but we are continuing to ask questions and answer as many as we can. If you have a question, you can text us at 865-637-1010. 

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