NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Scores are coming in from TCAP testing with the new third-grade retention law upping the stakes. Several school districts are now releasing their TCAP scores and plans for retesting and summer school.

Metro Nashville Public Schools said 62% of third graders might be exempt from the retention law, either because they met or exceeded expectations on the TCAP English Language Arts portion or they are otherwise exempt because of learning disabilities or an English Learner status.

“These are 8-year-olds turning 9 in third grade. The first time they’re taking this test, in this format, ELA is the first portion of the test they take, and then that’s determining if they’re going to pass or not,” said Michele Sheriff, president of the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association (MNEA).

News 2 checked in with multiple other counties in the area to see how many of their third-graders passed the ELA portion to move on to the fourth grade.

Here are the results from the school districts we heard from:

  • Williamson County Schools told us 72% of students either exceeded or met the expectations.
  • For Rutherford County Schools, at least 70% met the requirements to be promoted to fourth grade.
  • In the Franklin Special School District, 70% of third graders were proficient in the ELA portion.
  • 43% passed in Dickson County Schools.
  • Robertson County Schools told us 42% passed.
(Graphic: WKRN)

“Kids who have shown progress all year, to have one single test score determine if they’re going on to the next grade level or not, i’s a lot of pressure,” Sheriff said.

Third-graders who did not pass the ELA portion have a few options – they can retake the test this week; they can appeal the results; and they can also attend summer school in order to move on to the fourth grade, an option Sheriff believes adds more stress to students and educators.

“Teachers are stressed in elementary schools because currently, they’re not sure what they’re teaching next year. If they’re teaching fourth grade, they are not sure if they’re staying in fourth grade because they don’t know if they’ll have enough students to have the same number of classes next year,” Sheriff said. “Teachers who don’t choose to teach summer school might like to have a break, but this is just compounding the stress over the summer and not allowing them to take that break, because they won’t know until after summer school is over what their placement might be for next year.”

Most school districts will start retesting on Tuesday, May 23, and continue through the end of the week.

“A student told his teacher he would never get out of third grade because he didn’t understand that you can be retained once. She asked him what does this mean, and he said, ‘I’m never going to be able to pass this test to go to fourth grade,’ I mean stories like that are heartbreaking,” Sheriff said.

As for summer schools, Robertson County Schools said they have 1,286 students enrolled in their summer school program, and about 430 of them are third-grade students.

Williamson County Schools will have a four-week summer school program that runs from June 6 to June 29.

As for Metro Schools, Sheriff said, “Hopefully there will be enough teachers to teach summer school, but we are already understaffed in our schools during the school year. So we hope there’s enough staffing in the summer for summer schools.”