TN Students Show Modest Math Gains on Nation’s 2019 Report Card State sees increase in 4th grade math, while remaining flat in other test subjects

Published 10:10 am Thursday, October 31, 2019

NASHVILLE— The Nation’s 2019 Report Card was released this morning.  According to the results, Tennessee students made noteworthy gains in 4th-grade math, but saw virtually no statistical gains in the other subject areas that were tested, compared to 2017.

Every two years, the  National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is administered to students in grades 4 and 8 to measure grade-level proficiency in science and math. The goal is to help states evaluate student progress and see how they performed in relationship to their peers in other states. The statewide results for this year closely mirror the trends experienced nationally in 2019.  Commissioner Penny Schwinn says,  “I’m extremely proud of our students and educators for improving 4th-grade math scores. This state made tremendous academic gains in math and reading between 2011  and 2013,  but since then, proficiency has essentially remained stagnant. Tennessee students deserve better, and I know we can deliver that. Now is the time to accelerate once again.”

The accompanying graph shows student proficiency in Tennessee on NAEP over the past decade. This year, the proficiency levels ranged between 32 percent and 40 percent for 2019,  depending on the subject.

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The 2019  results also reveal widening achievement gaps between white students and students who have a disability, are economically disadvantaged, are of a different race, or are English  Language Learners.

Tennessee’s scores on the NAEP align closely with last year’s TNReady scores, which showed a similar percentage of students proficient in each grade and subject.  This is a stark difference from 2007,  when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave Tennessee an “F” on Truth in Advertising because the statewide results

were remarkably different from what the NAEP determined to be students’ true understanding of the content. Closing the gap clearly shows how hard educators and the department have worked to provide clarity and transparency about student achievement.

“It’s difficult to see that only 35 percent of 4th graders in Tennessee can read with proficiency,” Commissioner Schwinn said.  “That said,  teachers and students in this state have already proven that they have what it takes to make drastic improvements over a short period of time, and the department will support districts to make that happen again.”

For more information on the 2019  NAEP results, go to the following website: