TN Student Scores Holding Steady: NAEP Results

Tennessee’s scores held steady this year on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and state officials say the overall progress made by students since 2011 allows Tennessee to maintain the title of “most improved.”

“There is no state that has improved as much as we have, and second place isn’t close,” Gov. Bill Haslam said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

The NAEP is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation’s students know and can do. It has served as a national yardstick of student achievement since 1969. Through The Nation’s Report Card, NAEP informs the public about what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas and compares achievement between states, large urban districts and various student demographic groups.

In 2011, Tennessee officials set the goal of becoming the state to see the most academic improvement by 2015. In 2013, the goal was met and Tennessee was praised for having the most point-gain increase in the nation.

For the 2015 testing year, student scores held steady in math and reading in both grades (4 and 8), according to the results released Tuesday night. Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said Tennessee is now ranked 35th nationally when all four tested subjects are considered, and boasted that it is one of 18 states to not experience a significant loss in any of the four tested subjects.

Notable points from 2011 to current NAPE results include:

  • Tennessee students have climbed from 46th in the nation to 25th in fourth-grade math.
  • Tennessee students have climbed from 45th in the nation to 37th in eighth-grade math.
  • Tennessee students have climbed from 41st in the nation to 36th in fourth-grade reading.
  • Tennessee students have climbed from 41st in the nation to 30th in eighth-grade reading.

Haslam said this year’s scores “solidify and improve on the big gains” previously seen. “A new set of fourth- and eighth-graders proved that the gains we made in 2013 were real.”

NAEP is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics, an independent research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. It is regarded by many experts as one of the best comparative measures of student achievement.

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