TCAP tests show student improvement for 2nd straight year
June 26, 2012 2:34 PM CDT
Reported By Chris Bundgaard, Reporter - bio | email
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
It was not long ago when Tennessee governors could find nothing to joke about in the annual student achievement testing known as TCAPs, but now for the second year in a row, Bill Haslam and his education commissioner Kevin Huffman can claim an uptick in scores, and offer a little humor in doing so.
The governor began his TCAP announcement by joking that a friend called about the scores saying "if it was bad news you would just send [Kevin] Huffman."
Those were the first words from the governor at news conference Tuesday at West End Middle School in Nashville on the 2012 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program which is the full name for TCAP.
The governor told the gathering that included House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Education Committee Chair Delores Grisham that students reached higher levels of proficiency in 23 of 24 TCAP achievement tests in grades three through eight.
Governor Haslam touted teachers as the reason for the uptick in the TCAP scores.
"The continued success of students is a testament to how much work Tennessee teachers have done in the classroom," Haslam said in a prepared statement for the TCAP release.
"The growth we've seen on statewide assessments over the past two years is an impressive start, and shows that we are on the right track," Commissioner Huffman said in his remarks.
Huffman added that, "We made impressive gains faster than expected in math and science, we also saw progress in reading, but that progress was a little slower that we would like to see in the future."
According to the figures, TCAP results show that after two years of steady increases, half of students in grades three through eight were reading at grade level or above during the 2011-12 school year.
Forty-seven percent of students scored proficient or advanced in math, about 55,000 more than were on-grade level two years ago and in science, more than 60% of students were proficient or advanced, 38,000 more students than in 2010.
In high school, more than half of students scored proficient or advanced in English I, English II, Algebra I, biology and history for the first time since Tennessee raised its TCAP standards three years ago.
"We have asked more of teachers and we have asked more of students, and quite frankly I am here to say thank you to both groups," the governor told the gathering.
"It's very encouraging that we are seeing growth in student performance," said Tennessee Education Association President Gera Summerford whose group has sometimes been at odds with the Haslam Administration.
The math teacher from Sevier County added, "I hope that it also shows that we are also seeing growth in what we call 'value-added' and how we measure our teachers."
The "value-added" aspect of the scores, will comes from yearly growth of students through the testing.
It will be a major component of teacher evaluations which begin this school using TCAP scores directly to help evaluate individual teachers.
TCAP scores for individual districts are released sometime in July.
Both the governor and the education commissioner acknowledged there's much more work to do to raise student standards.