NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Under the current language of the third-grade retention law, the state solely uses the TCAP to determine whether a student is proficient in English Language Arts (ELA) and reading. But now, that could change.

“Maybe there’s a better way to do this than having one test and one moment in time that is going to be the deciding factor whether or not a student is going to be retained in third grade,” Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville) said.

Greeneville Republican Representative David Hawk filed a new bill to allow each Local Education Agency (LEA) to decide if it should pass a student to the fourth grade. An LEA for your county is generally the school board or school district.

Currently, as the law stands, it’s up to the Department of Education to decide whether to pass a student to fourth grade, depending on their TCAP score.

“The retention aspect will be largely decided upon by the teachers, the parents, that school district, whether they go forward or not,” Hawk said.

It’s a bill most Democrats are in favor of, though leadership would like to see it go a step further.

“What I would love to see is let’s leave these decisions up to the child’s teacher,” Democrat Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) said.

Clemmons argues even an LEA wouldn’t know each individual student, so the Dept. of Education wouldn’t either.

“The state has no business making a decision whether a child should progress from grade to grade,” he said.

Whether the legislature passes Hawk’s bill remains to be seen, and even he admits he expects it to be close.

“It’s a five,” he said, when asked about confidence of passage on a scale of 1-10. “I think it’s a middle of the road answer to the problem we’ve got, or a solution to the problem we’ve got.”