TCAP 2021

Test Results Reveal Pandemic Impact for Weakley Students
Posted on 08/16/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Test Results Reveal Pandemic Impact for Weakley StudentsTo see the impact of the pandemic on education, one need only do the math. The data is now in and overall, Weakley County students continue to exceed state averages.

However, records show a quarter of Weakley County students were absent 10% or more last year. COVID-related causes saw 55 out of 350 teachers out of the classroom for 10 days or more.

“While virtual options have their place, last year underscored we need both students and teachers in the classroom to make the greatest strides,” said Weakley County Schools Director Randy Frazier. “Evidence is mounting that our in-person classes last year kept us above state averages related to achievement. To get back to our norm of leading the state, we will need the community working together and focused on health and safety.”

The recent release of the district level results for the 2020-21 Spring Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) reveal Weakley County Schools exceeded the state achievement average in math and ELA in grades 3-8.
Overall, 4th grade was well above the state average, achieving 12.8 points ahead of the state average in ELA and 14.8 points ahead in math. Weakley County 8th graders showed the highest surge above others in the state with their math scores exceeding the state average by 15.3 percentage points.

Even those district grades that scored lower still climbed higher than the state average. Sixth graders in the district were the closest to others in the state in ELA and math and 8th grade ELA scores in Weakley were only 1.8 points above the state.

Although overall Weakley County’s averages were lower than the last testing period in 2019, some grade/content areas showed improvement including 4th, 5th, and 7th grade ELA and 6th and 8th grade Social Studies.

In the Tennessee Department of Education’s presentation on TCAP results, the district proficiency rates in early grades, specifically 3rd grade English Language Arts (ELA) and 7th grade math, were a primary focus. TDOE administrators reported they did so in recognition of “the importance of ensuring students are learning on grade level for these foundational years. Specifically, meeting expectations in 3rd grade ELA is a key indicator of future academic success; and 7th grade math is foundational to Algebra and mathematical reasoning.”

In 3rd Grade ELA, Weakley County was one of the highest performing districts in the Northwest CORE Region.

In its press release regarding the achievement scores, the TDOE stated, “State- and district-level results from the 2020-21 Spring TCAP assessments show that pandemic-related disruptions to education led to expected declines in academic proficiency across the state.”

To continue to address loss and return to Weakley County’s consistent status for high academic achievement, Instructional Supervisors Terri Stephenson for elementary and Donald Ray High for middle and high schools point to last year’s deep dive into learning deficits and customizing a summer program to meet those needs as well as the addition of math coach to assist teachers in grades 6-12.

Stephenson also noted that the pandemic year fell at a time when ELA teachers were implementing a new curriculum. 

“In 2018 TCAP results, we did not see a significant change after that first year of implementing the state’s Read to Be Ready initiative. However, we saw a significant increase when the second year’s results came in,” she stated. “With the investment of time and training our literacy leaders have already put into helping our reading teachers master the high-quality materials in our new curriculum, we believe we will once again see our scores jump when we see TCAP results this time next year.”

Intensive after-school tutoring for those grades 1-12 students who are below or approaching mastery, a focus on small group instruction in elementary school with differentiation tailored to each student’s deficit, and a scheduled National Institute for Excellence in Teaching workshop for administrators to better align the standards, curriculum, assessment, classroom practice, and evaluation and feedback systems within their schools. are among the proactive steps planned for the coming year.