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State of Education in Tennessee

SCORE’s annual State of Education in Tennessee report analyzes the state’s progress in improving student outcomes, delineates work that has contributed to achievement gains, and provides recommendations to the state to ensure we continue to prepare all students for success in college and the workforce. The comprehensive report is grounded in extensive research and feedback from educators, higher education faculty, the Tennessee Department of Education, business and philanthropic partners, and other stakeholders.

2016 Priorities for Tennessee

Implement TNReady and Aligned Interim Assessments
  • Ensure Stability in Statewide Assessments
  • Maintain a Strong Commitment to Annual Standardized Assessment
  • Implement Recommendations from the Tennessee Task Force on Student Testing and Assessment
Ensure Equitable Outcomes for Historically Underserved Populations
  • Recruit and Retain Highly Effective Teachers in High-Need Schools
  • Reflect the Diversity of Tennessee’s Student Body in Tennessee’s Teacher Pipeline
  • Radically Improve College Readiness Rates for Historically Underserved Populations
  • Implement Innovative Solutions that Yield Sustained Academic Growth for Historically Underserved Populations
Empower Tennessee’s Teachers
  • Elevate Teacher Voice
  • Ensure the Continued Improvement of Tennessee’s Teacher Preparation Programs
  • Improve Teacher Compensation in Tennessee
  • Expand Access to High-Quality Literacy Instruction
Invest in Tennessee’s School and District Leaders
  • Create High-Quality Professional Learning Opportunities for Tennessee’s Principals
  • Create Effective Systems of Support for Aspiring, New, and Current Principals
  • Strengthen the Principal Evaluation System
Cultivate Community and Business Partnerships in Education
  • Expand Access to Youth Apprenticeships and Internships
  • Provide Children with High-Quality Early Literacy Instruction
  • Incentivize Students to Pursue Degrees and Certifications in High-Need Employment Areas
Full Report

2015-16 State of Education in Tennessee

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At a Glance

2015-16 State of Education in Tennessee

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SCORE CARD: State Achievement Data

  • Tennessee was recognized as the fastest improving state in the nation on fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading scores on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). These gains were sustained in 2015, with the exception of fourth-grade reading.
  • For the first time on a NAEP examination, Tennessee fourth-graders scored in the top half (25th) of students nationally in math.
  • In 2015, Tennessee African American fourth-graders for the first time scored higher overall on the NAEP math exam than their African American peers nationally. However, the average Tennessee African American fourth-grade math score (on a 500-point scale) was 20 points below the average score of white Tennessee fourth-graders and 22 points below that of white students nationally.
  • Since 2010, the percentage of Tennessee students meeting the college readiness benchmarks has increased. However, Tennessee high school juniors continue to score below national averages and trail many other states with universal ACT administration. In 2015, only 17 percent of public high school test-takers met all four ACT benchmarks.
  • Among the 24 states in which more than 70 percent of high school students took the ACT in 2015, Tennessee’s overall average composite score of 19.8 (on a scale of 36) ranked above only four.
  • Although 38 percent of white Tennessee students scored at college-ready levels on at least three of the four ACT subject areas, only 21 percent of Hispanic and 9 percent of African American students did so.

SCORE CARD: State Achievement Data

  • Tennessee was recognized as the fastest improving state in the nation on fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading scores on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). These gains were sustained in 2015, with the exception of fourth-grade reading.
  • For the first time on a NAEP examination, Tennessee fourth-graders scored in the top half (25th) of students nationally in math.
  • In 2015, Tennessee African American fourth-graders for the first time scored higher overall on the NAEP math exam than their African American peers nationally. However, the average Tennessee African American fourth-grade math score (on a 500-point scale) was 20 points below the average score of white Tennessee fourth-graders and 22 points below that of white students nationally.
  • Since 2010, the percentage of Tennessee students meeting the college readiness benchmarks has increased. However, Tennessee high school juniors continue to score below national averages and trail many other states with universal ACT administration. In 2015, only 17 percent of public high school test-takers met all four ACT benchmarks.
  • Among the 24 states in which more than 70 percent of high school students took the ACT in 2015, Tennessee’s overall average composite score of 19.8 (on a scale of 36) ranked above only four.
  • Although 38 percent of white Tennessee students scored at college-ready levels on at least three of the four ACT subject areas, only 21 percent of Hispanic and 9 percent of African American students did so.