KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knox County parent is speaking out after the third-grade retention law has come into full effect for the 2022-2023 school year in Tennessee.
Parents of third-grade students learned their child’s score on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) exams on Friday, May 19. Those Knox County Schools students who scored “below” or “approaching” had the opportunity to retake the test on Monday, May 22.
Brandy Jenkins’ third-grade daughter failed the English Language Arts portion of the exam. Jenkins says she was shocked about the possibility of her daughter not progressing to fourth grade because she is a straight “A” student.
“There’s, I think, one other student in her class that excels better than she does,” Jenkins said. “She’s in ‘GT,’ gifted and talented, I think is the acronym, she is also in junior leaders. She is a straight ‘A’ student.”
Knox County Schools had 1,600 third graders in their district who failed the English Language Arts portion of the test. The Tennessee Department of Education reported that 40% of third-grade students scored proficient in English Language Arts.
“I learned that at least a third of Knox County is in the same predicament,” she said “I have a lot of home school friends whose hearts are going to us and this is just another reason they homeschool.”
Jenkins fears this new law will have bigger ramifications, or consequences, in the future.
“She is going to stress the rest of her life over every test and fear that she will never pass to the next grade because of a test,” she said.
If students receive a score of “below” or “approaching” on the retake, Knox County Schools families will receive a message notifying them of the next steps on May 26.
In December 2022, the Knox County Board of Education approved a resolution that called on the Tennessee General Assembly to give school districts the final say on retention decisions for third and fourth grade. Some members of the board were concerned with the state making a decision to hold a child back in the third grade.