2016-17 State of Education in Tennessee - Page 21

There are approximately 50,000 ELs enrolled in Tennessee schools . Although ELs are located in schools across the state , enrollments are greatest in a few school districts . Together , Shelby County Schools and Metro Nashville Public Schools serve half of all ELs in the state , and more than 75 percent are served by 10 school districts . 4 The increased rates of EL proficiency on NAEP are reflected by larger gains among urban Tennessee districts over recent years .
Although urban districts have sustained gains over recent years and suburban districts have either increased student proficiency rates or remained at past levels , town and rural districts have largely remained flat , or even declined .
FIGURE 15 . TENNESSEE GRADE 8 NAEP READING SCORES BY LOCATION
290
City
280 270 260 250 240
267
251
2007
267
253
2009
266
253
2011
275
256
2013
2015
275
259
Suburb
Town
Rural
Source : NAEP , 2015
FIGURE 16 . TENNESSEE GRADE 8 NAEP MATH SCORES BY LOCATION
290 280 270 260
284
264
288
265
283
266
285
269
285
272
City
Suburb
Town
Rural
250
240
2007
2009
2011
2013
2015
Source : NAEP , 2015
STATE ASSESSMENTS AND TNREADY
The 2015-16 school year represented a reset for state assessments . Tennessee ’ s new assessments reflect a higher set of expectations for students , and proficiency level cut scores approved in 2016 by the State Board of Education demonstrate the state ’ s commitment to high expectations for all students . Together these changes represent a shift in how Tennessee defines how well students are tracking toward college and career readiness . According to the Tennessee Department of Education ( TDOE ), students have the following range of chances to meet ACT college readiness based on proficiency level reached :
• Below : 1-10 percent chance
• Approaching : 10-30 percent chance
• On Track : 60-80 percent chance
• Mastered : 85-100 percent chance
Results from the 2015-16 school year provide a more honest view of whether Tennessee students are mastering the skills and knowledge they need to have by graduation day . Substantially fewer students statewide scored at the highest performance levels on end-of-course exams in 2016 , and in Tennessee ’ s largest urban districts especially low numbers of students achieved at high levels . For example , in Shelby County Schools — the state ’ s largest district by enrollment — less than 7 percent of students scored at grade-level or above on the Algebra I exam , compared to a statewide average of 21 percent . In English , Shelby County Schools ’ passage rate trailed the state ’ s average by 11 percentage points . However , students in Shelby County Schools demonstrated very high levels of literacy growth . 5
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