Spring 2021 TCAP results show evidence of learning loss

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn (right) tours Science Hill with Johnson City Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Barnett, school board member Kathy Hall and other officials. PHOTO BY COLLIN BROOKS

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn announced the Spring 2021 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) state-level results. This is the first set of state-level data related to student academic achievement available since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These results show that COVID-19 has disrupted learning in every school district in Tennessee,” said Gov. Lee. “We’re grateful for the dedication of our educators and districts who worked to mitigate this loss over the past year, and we’re committed to implementing long-term strategies and investments to get our students back on track.”

Tennessee schools demonstrated their collective commitment to knowing where students are performing through a 95-percent student participation rate on the TCAP. Disruption to education as a result of the pandemic has led to declines in student academic proficiency in Tennessee across all subjects and grades.

“Since last school year, districts, schools, and educators have worked tirelessly to adapt to this new reality, met and exceeded ambitious goals to ensure our students tested, and are ready to start the new school year strong. Now is the time for our state to come together to support our students. We must operate with urgency and conviction that, together, we will do what is necessary to provide all students with an excellent education,” said Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn.

Key data points from the state-level 2021 Spring TCAP results include:

• Tennessee data shows decreases in students scoring Mastered and On Track. 

• Tennessee data shows increases in students scoring Below.

• While this year’s results track with state projections, Tennessee prevented the severe proficiency drops that some states have experienced due to the pandemic.

• Data show the most negative impacts for economically disadvantaged students, urban/suburban students, English learners, and students of color.

• Districts that provided opportunities for in-person instruction in 2020-21 saw less decline in student proficiency.

In January 2021, Gov. Lee and the General Assembly convened a special legislative session on education, which addressed urgent issues facing Tennessee students and schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the special legislative session passed legislation on accountability, learning loss, literacy, and teacher pay. The Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act established summer learning loss bridge camps for elementary students to help them recover learning loss and accelerate their achievement.

Gov. Lee, the General Assembly, and the Department of Education are committed to continuing to make strategic investments to mitigate learning loss and support student academic achievement.

More information on TCAP results can be found at tn.gov/education.


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