Thousands of additional students now meeting or exceeding course expectations
Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today that Tennessee high school students improved across all subject areas – English, math, science, and U.S. history – on the 2016-17 TNReady end-of-course exams. Thousands of additional students are meeting course expectations compared to last year, and the state reduced the percentage of students scoring at the lowest achievement level across all subject areas.
TNReady is the statewide assessment administered to all students in grades 3-11. It is a more rigorous assessment, compared to past state tests, that is fully aligned to Tennessee’s academic standards, which are based on what students need to know and be able to do each year to ultimately be prepared for college and their careers. In 2015-16, high school students set a new baseline in the first year of TNReady, and as expected, their scores are beginning to increase as teachers and students adjust to higher standards that ensure students are ready for the next step in their academic journey.
“This growth is encouraging, and it shows our students are capable of reaching the high bar we’ve set with our expectations in Tennessee,” McQueen said. “It’s also promising to see not only overall improvement, but some bright spots in the performance of historically underserved student groups. The results from TNReady shine a light on what’s working and help us to identify where we need to better support students and teachers – so every student in Tennessee reaches his or her fullest potential.”
Students show growth in all end-of-course subject areas
Overall, scores improved in all subject areas and on nearly every end-of-course exam. Students’ scores on TNReady fall into one of four performance categories: below, approaching, on track, or mastered. Those students who score on track or mastered met or exceeded course expectations.
- In English, students take three end-of-course exams in high school: English I, II, and III. Results on each exam improved this year, and across all three tests, 34.3% of students performed on track or mastered, a jump from 30.4% in 2015-16. Students had the biggest gains in high school English, with more than 11,000 additional students scoring on track or mastered compared to last year.
- Across all high school math courses, 21.5% of students performed on track or mastered, up slightly from 20.8% last year. Altogether, over 4,000 additional students scored on track or mastered on high school math in 2017 compared to 2016.
- In high school math, districts choose one of two tracks: algebra I, geometry, and algebra II or integrated math I, II, and III. Integrated math combines algebra and geometry throughout the three courses.
- On four of the six math exams, the percentage of students who scored on track or mastered improved, and there were slight dips on two tests: algebra II and integrated math II. Notably, the districts participating in these two tests shifted as some districts continue transitioning to integrated math track.
- There are two end-of-course exams offered in science: biology and chemistry. Results on both improved. This year, 51.0% of students scored proficient or advanced on the high school science exams – up from 48.9% last year. That means about 4,600 more students were at or above course expectations.
- The science exam has yet to transition to TNReady and includes the performance levels from the old TCAP: below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced. In 2018-19, Tennessee schools will transition to new, more rigorous Tennessee academic standards in science, and that year, students will take a TNReady exam aligned to those higher standards.
- In U.S. history, there was also an uptick in the percentage of students who performed on track or mastered – 30.8% in 2017 compared to 29.9% in 2016. That means about 2,800 additional students are now meeting course expectations in U.S. history.
Student groups show encouraging growth and highlight areas to improve
This year’s results also show some encouraging performance from Tennessee’s historically underserved student groups. In particular, for end-of-course exams in English, all student groups – students with disabilities, English learners, economically disadvantaged students, and Black/Hispanic/Native American students – improved on TNReady.
In many cases, student groups had fewer students who scored in the lowest performance level, either below or below basic, compared to last year. For example, last year on English I, 33.7% of economically disadvantaged students scored as below, but this year that percentage dropped to 20.7%. Notably, the percent of student with disabilities scoring at the lowest level of achievement decreased in every individual content area and fell by over 19 percentage points in English I.
And, in a couple of cases, performance gaps narrowed between student groups and all students. On high school science, Black/Hispanic/Native American students outpaced the larger student population, and on high school math, the gap between students with disabilities and all students also narrowed. The progress shown by students with disabilities is particularly encouraging given that there has been an increase in the number of students with disabilities who participate in TNReady over the past two years, since the elimination of the modified TCAP.
Transition to online assessments continues
For the first time this year, high school students in 24 districts took TNReady online. This was the first year of a three-year transition to online assessments, and in 2017-18, all high school students will take TNReady end-of-course exams online. Additionally, districts will have the option for students in grades 5-8 to take TNReady online in 2017-18 before fully transitioning those students to online assessments in 2018-19.
In consultation with national experts, psychometricians with Questar and the department analyzed the results this year to ensure that scores are comparable regardless of whether the student took TNReady online or on paper.
Additional information coming soon
The release of the statewide end-of-course results starts the cascade of additional TNReady information that will follow over the next few months. Within the coming weeks, school districts will receive their embargoed district-level end-of-course results, as well as TVAAS growth data and their parent and teacher score reports. District-level high school end-of-course results will be released publicly after districts have had a chance to review their data. This fall, the department will finalize the scores and release the results for grades 3-8 at both the state and district level.
For more information on TNReady and the results, including specific details and additional data about today’s announcement as well as more information on the 2017-18 assessment, please visit the department’s website at TNReady.gov. For media inquiries, contact Sara Gast at 615-532-6260 or firstname.lastname@example.org.