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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Tennessee rebounds: Is it tutors?

Reading scores have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels or better in Tennessee, according to a new analysis, reports Beth Hawkins on The 74. Math scores are up too, but not as much.

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn credits "a $200 million statewide program to deliver intensive, high-quality tutoring to struggling students and $100 million in grants to help schools to pay for literacy materials aligned with the science of reading, training for thousands of teachers on their use and frequent student screenings," writes Hawkins

The new Tennessee Accelerating Literacy and Learning Corps (TN ALL Corps), which matches groups of no more than three elementary pupils or four middle schoolers with the same tutor for two or three 30- or 45-minute sessions a week. The tutoring takes place during the school day and ideally is conducted by experienced educators.

. . . A number of districts that were among the first to offer intensive tutoring saw double-digit gains in reading. Trousdale County Schools’ 1,400 students posted a 15-point jump in proficiency, for example. Metro Nashville Public Schools and Memphis-Shelby County Schools each had an 8% increase.

Urban, suburban and rural districts saw gains.

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5 Comments


Guest
Jul 14, 2022

Have they released the actual scores, rather than just the proficiency levels? My students' results on the Georgia Milestone tests would look similar to these as measured by the students who were considered "proficient" or "distinguished," the Georgia terms for met or exceeds, but their actual averages scores are down 20 points from spring of 2019 to spring of 2022. The scales goes to 750, I think, but that's a much larger negative swing in mean score than I've ever experienced before in year to year fluctuation. There is no doubt that my students scored worse than usual, and yet, I could accurately report that my percentage of students scoring proficient or higher was up a percentage point.


My experience…

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Joanne Jacobs
Joanne Jacobs
Jul 13, 2022

Yes, Tennessee was a pioneer in "value added" analysis of teacher effectiveness.


Tennessee also did the most of any state to set up a tutoring corps. The latest analysis found students in urban, suburban and rural areas are testing at pre-pandemic reading levels, or better, with the strongest gains in districts that did the most tutoring. Pre-pandemic achievement was not high achievement, of course. The state also is trying to get teachers trained in "reading science" and improve early literacy. A number of states are doing that: Mississippi is now a role model!

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Guest
Jul 13, 2022

Remind me, isn't TN the state that pioneered teacher evaluations based on "effectiveness", how much they advance a student. So a sixth grade teacher who advances 100% of a class all testing at a 2nd grade level to a 5th grade level has 100% less than the standard for 6th graders, but still has a higher rating than a sixth grade teacher who has 100% of the on-level class tested moving from a 5th grade level to a 6th grade standard, for 100% "mastery". Three years improvement better than one year of ordinary progress.


Intricate concept to explain without pictures and hand waving. But anyhow, that's Tennessee, right?

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Guest
Jul 13, 2022

Outside of Nashville and Memphis, most schools in TN have been open most of this time, as have most extracurriculars. I'd expect that most TN kids have less learning loss and fewer new behavioral issues to deal with, so it doesn't seem surprising that some intensive tutoring would be able to help the kids catch up. And, regarding the other comment, I struggle to see how missing other subjects for an hour a week is a particularly high cost, Most homeschoolers will say that, for elementary school, the only things that are truly essential are reading and math because without a good foundation in those students will struggle in middle and high school. Struggling middle and high schoolers are o…


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Guest
Jul 13, 2022

Note that this is being conducted during the school day by experienced educators, which means these gains are coming at the expense of other subjects: the cost is pretty high, to have most children only approach, rather than achieve, the standards in just two subjects.

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