Today, the State Board of Education voted unanimously on final reading to approve new, Tennessee-specific academic standards for Mathematics and English language arts.

A multi-year public review culminated in a six month rigorous revision process led by the Standards Recommendation Committee (SRC), whose members were appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House of Representatives and confirmed by the General Assembly. The new K-12 Tennessee Academic Standards for mathematics and ELA standards were then heard on first reading at the January 2016 State Board of Education meeting.

These rigorous standards set grade-specific goals that exemplify what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of a given grade or course.

“Tennessee’s new Academic Standards for math and ELA are comprehensive, rigorous, and a step forward for Tennessee students,” said Fielding Rolston, chairman of the State Board of Education. “We are very grateful to all of the parents, teachers, and leaders who took part in the public review process to help create these new standards.”

Tennesseans had multiple opportunities to provide feedback on the new standards. An initial online review period brought 131,424 reviews and 20,344 comments. A committee of math and ELA educators scrutinized each individual standard to update or revise them based on the public feedback and their classroom expertise.

The revised set of standards were then posted for a second public comment period in the fall of 2015. Following that public review, the SRC examined the revised standards and gathered additional feedback from regional meetings and roundtables with educators and parents. The higher education community and other stakeholders also provided input before the SRC completed their work and shared their recommendations with the State Board.

Between first and final reading, the Board continued to actively review and make refinements in both subjects. In English language arts, clarification was added regarding the progression of standards, and adjustments were made to add clarity to several of the glossary definitions. In math, additional clarification was added to specific standards regarding mathematical formulas and several Bridge Math standards were eliminated to further narrow the course content.

“These new and improved Tennessee Academic Standards will help ensure that our students are workforce and postsecondary ready,” said Dr. Sara Heyburn, Executive Director of the State Board of Education. “This has been a deep and thorough review process, and the quality of this work is impressive thanks to the commitment and engagement of so many Tennessee educators and parents.”

In October 2014, Governor Bill Haslam announced the creation of a public standards review website to offer feedback on the math and English language arts standards. This process was codified by the General Assembly in Public Chapter 423 of 2015, which refined the review process to include even more opportunities for input on the standards from the public and subject matter experts. For more information, please visit