NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Monday, Tennessee released its first standardized test scores since the COVID-19 pandemic began. More students than expected took state tests for the 2020-21 school year.

However, those test scores were low, and the state’s education commissioner Penny Schwinn says they’ve seen drops in every content area and grade level. Nationally, there have been large losses in both math and science.

Now, because of the pandemic, the data won’t be used to evaluate teachers or students, but it will help in finding ways to move forward as we continue to deal with the effects the virus has on schools.

According to a press release from the state, here are the key data points from the TCAP results:

  • Tennessee data shows decreases in students scoring Mastered and On Track. 
  • Tennessee data shows increases in students scoring Below.
  • While this year’s results track with state projections, Tennessee prevented the severe proficiency drops that some states have experienced due to the pandemic.
  • Data show the most negative impacts for economically disadvantaged students, urban/suburban students, English learners, and students of color.
  • Districts that provided opportunities for in-person instruction in 2020-21 saw less decline in student proficiency.

“These results show that COVID-19 has disrupted learning in every school district in Tennessee,” said Governor Bill Lee. “We’re grateful for the dedication of our educators and districts who worked to mitigate this loss over the past year, and we’re committed to implementing long-term strategies and investments to get our students back on track.”

Ryann Sutton with Anderson County Schools said, “Things that affected it were things like the quarantines that students had to be in, virtual learning. There were all sorts of things that impacted those scores.”

He added that Anderson County Schools doesn’t want all the focus to be on the numbers, “I think the biggest victory we had here in Anderson County is that we had school.” Like other school districts, they’re focused on how to move forward.

“Since last school year, districts, schools, and educators have worked tirelessly to adapt to this new reality, met and exceeded ambitious goals to ensure our students tested, and are ready to start the new school year strong. Now is the time for our state to come together to support our students. We must operate with urgency and conviction that, together, we will do what is necessary to provide all students with an excellent education,” said Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn.