2016-17 State of Education in Tennessee - Page 7

Although there has been great progress , too many Tennessee students — especially those of color , from low-income backgrounds , who have disabilities , or are English learners — are not on track to graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce .
Each year since 2009 , the State Collaborative on Reforming Education ( SCORE ) has published a comprehensive annual report on the state of public education in Tennessee . These reports provide an update on Tennessee ’ s work to improve student achievement , identify challenges that remain , and set education priorities for the coming year . The 2016-17 State of Education in Tennessee report is informed by focus groups with teachers and school and district leaders ; interviews with policymakers , educator preparation program leaders , and other higher education faculty ; analysis of a broad set of data input ; the members of SCORE ’ s Steering Committee ; and feedback from leading state and national education partners .
The first section of this report provides a databased view of progress and remaining areas of opportunity toward SCORE ’ s strategic goals . After years of ranking near the bottom of all states on the Nation ’ s Report Card , historic gains over the most recent NAEP assessments have moved Tennessee into the top half of states for fourthgraders in math and science , as well as for eighthgraders in science . Tennessee is moving in the right direction in eighth-grade reading , but an urgent focus on early grades literacy is needed to drive improvement toward the top half of states in fourth-grade reading . Tennessee ’ s continued rise will depend on meeting the learning needs of all students , while narrowing student achievement gaps .
Just 10 years ago , Tennessee was criticized in a national report for misrepresenting student preparedness to public school students and their parents . State data showed that nearly all students were proficient in their courses , while most graduated unprepared for college and work . This defining moment sparked nearly a decade of work in Tennessee to ensure that K-12 education better prepares all students for education beyond high school , productive work , and meaningful involvement in democratic society . The work in both policy and practice has led to nationally recognized academic progress .
State and national assessment data show Tennessee has made some progress in narrowing achievement gaps — particularly for students with disabilities , English learners , and in urban districts . However , stark gaps in proficiency remain across income backgrounds , racial and ethnic populations , geographic locations , and student needs . Ensuring more equitable opportunities for all students , especially underserved students , will drive continued progress statewide . This work should better prepare more students for postsecondary and career success .
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