Learning Loss in Tennessee

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Governor Lee, Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, and education stakeholders convened for a press conference Monday, August 2nd to announce the Spring 2021 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) state-level results, which revealed the following:

English Language Arts:

  • A decline in overall English Language Arts proficiency by 5 points, from 2019 results.
  • 3 in 10 Tennessee students are meeting grade level expectations in ELA.
  • 2nd & 3rd grades scores showed large increases to students scoring Below, with the rate of 2nd graders
  • scoring Below increasing 68% and 3rd graders scoring Below increasing 47%, respectively.


  • 1 in 4 Tennessee students is on grade level in mathematics.
  • Overall proficiency for 3rd graders declined from 44% in 2019 to 31% in 2021
  • 4th graders’ overall proficiency experienced a decline from 46% in 2019 to 34% in 2021


  • Science proficiency rates declined by a third.
  • Only 38% of Tennessee students demonstrated proficiency.
  • Learning loss in science were more profound than any other subject.

Social Studies:

  • Social Studies saw the most modest decline of the evaluated subjects and maintained performance from 2018
  • Although middle school students exhibited a 4-point decline in proficiency, high school students enjoyed a 4 point in increase in overall proficiency.

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