NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Education are hopeful that a new study will assist in strategizing the fight against pandemic learning loss.

In partnership with the SAS Institute, the state released pre-pandemic projected data that compared to students’ actual TCAP scores to measure the impact on student achievement. Overall, results showed the negative impact COVID-19 had on student achievement and highlighted schools that outperformed expectations.

Beth Brown, President of the Tennessee Education Association said while this could be useful information, it’s important to remember standardized test scores are a moment in time and don’t always tell the whole story.

“The best way to measure students and how they’re progressing is to talk with their teachers,” Brown said, “That would be folks who are working with them day in and day out. We can tell you specifics of any one of the children sitting in our classrooms on any given day.”

In September 2020, Tennessee was the first state to release learning loss projections.

Governor Lee is hopeful the data will help as the state works to mitigate pandemic effects on students.

“Tennessee is continuing to lead the way to address learning loss and the effects of the pandemic, share critical data and insights on how our students are performing and create innovative programs to accelerate student achievement,” Governor Lee said, “We will continue to innovate and share transparently about how our students are performing and where they need support.”

At the district level, some schools had positive growth on TCAP math assessments across all grades compared to projected pre-pandemic scores. The list included Union City Schools, Obion County Schools, Bradford Special School District, Huntingdon Special School District, Clinton City Schools, Decatur County Schools and Maryville City Schools.

Other districts had positive values on TCAP assessments across all grades compared to pre-pandemic projected scores. Metro Nashville Public Schools was not included in either list.

While the data may be useful, Brown again highlighted that Tennessee students are coming into classrooms with increasingly diverse and challenging needs. Brown said leaders need to consider this.

“We have to think beyond just the academic needs of our students,” Brown said, “We have to think about social and emotional well-being. We have to think about why we need more counselors, social workers and nurses at our schools, so our students can be healthy and prepared to learn.”

Brown added students are bringing many more adverse experiences and trauma with them since the onset of the pandemic. She said financial investments in schools will be key to helping students recover academically and emotionally.

Click here for the complete study from SAS Institute.