NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) touts a 40% English language proficiency among third graders, according to TCAP assessments, parents whose students didn’t score in that category are voicing frustrations.  

According to a release from TDOE, the state saw a 4.3% improvement in third-grade English Language Arts test scores, but more than half of Tennessee parents aren’t celebrating this win at the cost of its implications.  

“We had to sit down with him and tell him that he was going to have to retake the test and we had to tell him there was a possibility he might have to go to summer school, and he was just confused because he had performed so well throughout the year,” Wilson County Schools parent Jenny Mills said. 

Mills, who works as a librarian at Belmont University, was shocked to learn her third-grader scored “approaching proficiency.” In addition, she said her son is a straight A student and has scored grade-level proficiency or above in other assessments.  

“I work with college students,” Mills said. “Medical students who are training to become doctors should probably be able to pass a high stakes exam, but third graders, I think it’s completely inappropriate for one exam to determine so much about their future.” 

Over in Metro Schools, Ahmed Mossa was relieved to learn his third-grader at Paragon Mills Elementary passed the assessment. However, he still found the test unfair.  

“This is my fifth child in this Paragon Mills School,” Mossa said.  

For his other children, he explained teachers would contact parents if students ran into problem areas and had measures in place, like tutoring, to help prevent students from getting held back.  

“You know, one test all year to repeat, it is no good,” Mossa added.  

Mills said her son will re-take the assessment Tuesday, however, they also have the option to appeal the retention decision.  

“My child has received an excellent education at his Wilson County elementary school,” Mills said. “The problem is at the state government level…He doesn’t need additional supports through the summer; he’s a kid and he needs break.”