Results from the premier National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test shows Tennessee is the fastest improving state in the nation, far outpacing its counterparts in success from 2011 to 2013. NAEP is the gold standard report card given to 4th and 8th grade students across the nation every other year under the federal No Child Left Behind Law.
“We had the largest growth since NAEP has been administered,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “No state has ever grown more than Tennessee. It was extraordinary.”
Huffman said that if you add up all the score points, he would expect Tennessee’s education ranking to improve about nine points, moving the state from 46th or 47th in the nation to 36th or 37th .
The most recent results released in November showed significant progress across the board, especially revealing substantial growth among African American students. Where Tennessee previously lagged behind its sister states, in 3 out of 4 tests, students are now just one point away from the national average. The Commissioner says he anticipates students exceeding the national average by 2015.
Tennessee has also seen three years of continuous growth on its state assessments, also known as the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP). Since 2010, 91,000 more students are on grade level in math, and 52,000 more students are on grade level in science. Likewise, the Explore and Plan tests, which are the ACT pre-test for 8th and 10th graders, have shown widesread student improvement.
Commissioner Huffman told legislators that the state has received a lot of inquiries to find out what was going on to set the groundwork for Tennessee’s student success. Huffman attributed the gains to raising standards for student achievement and an improved teacher evaluation system which has provided extensive feedback to them on how to improve their students’ outcomes. He also said the Tennessee Diploma Project has attributed to the success. The Diploma Project implemented rigorous standards and requirements for students which are more in line with the demands of college and work.