for eighth-graders in science . Tennessee is moving in the right direction in eighth-grade reading , but a concerted effort to improve teaching and learning literacy in early grades is needed to ensure Tennessee students make the necessary gains to be prepared for middle and high school learning .
Goal 2 : Tennessee closes all student achievement gaps — at every grade level and subject area — by income , race , geographic location , and student need . These gaps should be narrowing on both state and national assessments by 2020 .
Tennessee should celebrate significant progress toward the goal of improved rankings among states in math and reading . Challenges persist , however , in the work to narrow achievement gaps among students . These gaps underscore the continued need to provide the highest level of education to all Tennessee students , especially historically underserved students .
Tennessee can measure achievement gaps on both NAEP and the state ’ s TNReady assessment . However , in the 2015- 16 school year , Tennessee ’ s testing vendor failed to fully implement TNReady state assessments for grades 3-8 . The resulting lack of data has significantly limited educator , parent , student , and policymaker understanding of student performance on these new , more rigorous , state standardsaligned assessments .
Despite the lack of complete state data for 2016 , NAEP results show where achievement gaps are narrowing , and where they remain wide . The following data show trends in NAEP achievement by income , race and ethnicity , geographic area , and for students with disabilities and English learners over recent years .
NAEP results show a strong and persisting relationship between income status and student academic performance . This relationship holds true at the state and national levels . From 2007-15 , achievement gaps slightly widened between Tennessee ’ s low-income students and their more-advantaged peers . Math and reading scores in both fourth and eighth grades reflect this trend . In general , the data show Tennessee ’ s progress , but highlight continuing gaps in achievement related to family income level . Economically disadvantaged ( ED ) students are improving in academic performance , but their more advantaged peers are improving faster . ( Figures 4-7 )
In 2013 , Tennessee ’ s ED eighth-grade students surpassed the national average score for ED students on the reading assessment . In 2015 , Tennessee fourth-grade ED students also surpassed the ED student national average in math . Although national average scores for ED students dipped in 2015 , Tennessee ’ s eighth-grade math scores rose . Overall , Tennessee ’ s non-economically disadvantaged students have improved greatly , catching up to , and sometimes surpassing , their peers ’ national average scores on math and reading assessments .
HISTORICALLY UNDERSERVED STUDENTS IN TENNESSEE
The state of Tennessee has identified four student populations as historically underserved by the public education system :
Black , Hispanic , and Native American students
Economically disadvantaged students Students with disabilities English learner students