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One twin faces third-grade retention in Morristown, another doesn't after TCAP exam

Both boys were excited to get their summer started, but the TCAP exam changed those plans.

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — Nolan and Henry were excited to show off their awards from school this year. They were for the highest average in science, writing and for outstanding achievements in writing.

Both the twins finished the year as honor roll students. Nolan finished runner-up in his class spelling bee and won a science award. Henry finished with the highest grade percentage in his math class. 

They finished one percentile apart on the TCAP test, and it's making all the difference. One brother might need to go to summer school, and the other is allowed to go straight to the fourth grade. Their mom said that this has put her in a difficult parenting situation. 

"If they both met expectations, great. If they both were approaching expectations, then okay, we'll do the same process with them. But for one to just barely meet it and one to just barely miss it — that puts me in a difficult spot as a mom," said Beth Ann Smith, mother of the boys.

Beth's son is eligible to go through the appeals process and is planning to use it. She said that the TCAP test doesn't do a good job of capturing the full picture of a student.

"I think the TCAP can be used as a tool in a bigger toolbox. For this one test to be a determining factor has created a lot of anxiety in kids and families, and in schools and educators," she said.

For parents who want to appeal their child's TCAP test score, the appeal window opens on Tuesday and is open until June 30. That's only for those students who fell in the "approaching expectations" category of the test.

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