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Tennessee academic scores improve, still below national averages


  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Education officials are pointing to improvements in just released TNReady statewide academic testing scores. In a press statement Commissioner Candice McQueen notes “Tennessee high school students improved across all subject areas."

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), Tennessee’s most influential education advocacy group, agrees the improvement is significant, saying more students will graduate with the skills to succeed in college or in the workplace.

SCORE spokesperson Teresa Wasson says much of the credit for that improvement goes to Tennessee’s teachers, who dug into last year’s results to find out what they needed to do differently in the classroom.

“To find opportunities where maybe students were not understanding the material as well, and then they changed their lessons for the following school year so that more students could develop a real understanding of the subject.”

While there may have been improvement, it’s important to note that this year’s TNReady scores show roughly half of Tennessee school children are still performing below grade level. Wasson says parents should remember that the current test is much more difficult than in previous years.

“Our standards, previously, had been abysmally low. The state was telling students that they were proficient, but they were proficient on a test that was extremely easy.”

Several Tennessee school system have filed suit against the state in an effort to raise education funding levels. Wasson says SCORE hopes any additional funding will go toward teacher salaries. She says keeping quality teachers in the classroom is the key to continued improvement. 

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