Tennessee Officials Release New Project School Performance Data Predating COVID-19


Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and staff at the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) this week released projected data that predates COVID-19 and compared it to students’ actual TCAP scores.

They said in a press release that they did this to measure the pandemic’s impact on student achievement via the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) public site. State officials use the site annually to measure students’ overall growth.

“At the district level, Union City Schools, Obion County Schools, Bradford Special School District, Huntingdon Special School District, Clinton City Schools, Decatur County Schools, and Maryville City Schools had positive growth on TCAP math assessments across all grades compared to projected pre-pandemic scores,” according to the press release.

“Similarly, Pickett County Schools, Union City Schools, Newport City Schools, Obion County Schools, Clinton City Schools, Lincoln County Schools, Rogersville City Schools, Bradford Special School District, and Alcoa City Schools had positive values on TCAP ELA assessments across all grades compared to pre-pandemic projected scores.”

In September 2020, Tennessee was the first state to release learning loss projections to begin critical conversations on how to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on students. The newly released pre-pandemic projected scores are based on students’ 2018-19 TCAP scores and assume that students had the “average schooling experience” prior to the pandemic compared to students’ scores on the 2020-21 TCAP assessment, the press release said.

Members of the Tennessee Senate Education Committee last week considered a bill this week that would, if enacted into law, expand Educational Savings Accounts, also known as ESAs. Committee members referred the bill for passage to the Senate Calendar Committee, according to the Tennessee General Assembly’s website.

Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) said that at least one school district in Tennessee, in Collierville, moved students to remote learning this month.

Tennessee law mandates that students take 180 days of in-person learning.

“This bill [SB 1674] expands ESA’s to be offered to any parent whose child goes to a school or attends a school that is within a district and that district chooses not to offer 180 days of in-person learning,” Bell told The Tennessee Star last week.

“Our school districts are there to serve and educate our children and if they choose not to offer 180 days in-person learning, which state law requires them to do, then I think it is important that those parents be offered a choice to take money that would go to educate their child within that school district and use it in a school of their choice.”

Recent studies reveal that students do not perform well when they stay home and learn remotely, Bell said.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) published a study last November that said remote learning led to declines in test scores in English and math when compared to the scores of schools that had more in-person learning. Passing rates in math, for instance, declined by 14.2 percentage points on average.

The bill, if enacted into law, would not go into effect until the 2022-2023 school year, Bell said.

Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Children Wearing Masks at School” by RODNAE Productions.






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One Thought to “Tennessee Officials Release New Project School Performance Data Predating COVID-19”

  1. John

    “Recent studies reveal that students do not perform well when they stay home and learn remotely, Bell said.”

    Well no kidding. We didn’t need to spend money on a study to project this kind of conclusion. I told my wife during the first week of remote learning in our county that this was a bad idea. Why did we need an entire study to tell us this?

    We need more common sense in politics, and not, whatever this is….