School districts across Shelby County grapple with TCAP results

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — School districts in Shelby County are responding to the latest TCAP results released by the state.

Tennessee’s governor had prepared parents for the latest TCAP standardized test scores, which show historic learning losses.

In Shelby County Schools, this year fewer students were considered proficient or performing at the state’s expectation of their grade level.

Grades three through five saw the biggest losses. Only 11 percent of students were proficient. That’s down 28 percent compared to the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

Math saw some of the worst scores. In fact, the only improvement was high school social studies.

SCS was one of the last to return to in-person learning, because district leaders were concerned most of its students would be more severely impacted by COVID than more affluent districts.

State Representative Mark White, (R) Memphis, is the chief of the education administration committee. He says it could take years until students are caught up.

“That’s why it’s so important this coming year to keep students in the classroom,” White said.

He pointed to other other districts like Arlington Community Schools, where only 16 percent of its students were fully virtual last year. The district did significantly better than other districts, ranking first in the state for math in lower grades.

“When you consider the circumstances our teachers and students were working under last year, the results are simply amazing,” said Superintendent Jeff Mayo in a letter to parents.

Other suburban schools, however, saw dips, especially in English language arts.

“There is a lot of federal money coming in right now as well as state money. Across the state, we got $4.1 billion to put into education,” White said.

White said three quarters of a billion dollars went to Shelby County Schools.

In a statement, SCS said it will use the funds to overcome the learning loss, like offering teachers more training to improve literacy rates, lowering the adult to student ratio, and offering more tutoring and ACT prep. You can click here to read the full statement.

We asked White what legislators can do at a state level to help with this issue.

“Since we finished session since May 5, it has not slow down. We may as well be back in session,” White said. “Those who are on the education committee are looking for answers right now.”

Click here for more on the district-level TCAP results

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