A children’s drawing displays their idea of a schoolhouse and life in the outdoor area of the school. Isabella Morman
Third graders across Tennessee are in for some news as Tennessee pushes its retention law into effect.
The law only allows for students who perform on grade level or higher on the English Language Arts section of the TCAP to move forward onto fourth grade, those that fail will be at risk for retention.
The law was passed in 2021 but was not pushed into an effective plan until the 2022-2023 school year.
Parents, teachers, and education majors all have their own opinions.
“From a parent’s point of view, I absolutely had worries about it. First off, I don’t think it should reflect on the teacher, he/she can only teach the material and let the students obtain the information she taught. The student should not be held accountable for not being able to pass standardized tests. They have never had them graded before school was over, so why now? Most students freeze up when it comes to any testing. In the 10 years that I did work with the school system, we had parents that would opt their children out of the testing. So how can we make them test if they don’t have to? I just don’t understand how they’ll be able to hold 85 percent of the children back if they do not pass TCAP, “said Stephanie Tidwell, a parent of two children, one being in third grade currently.
Another parent, Meghan Bone, agreed with Tidwell saying, “From a parent’s point of view I don’t agree with holding children back because they cannot pass the TCAP. Not all children are good test takers. There is so much information taught in the classroom, it blows my mind. I don’t understand who except an 8-year-old to remember everything they have learned over a school year. To me, that’s not fair. Third grade is not an easy grade. If the state wants a more successful pass rate for the TCAP at the 3rd-grade level, how is the state planning on preparing these kids for this test? Will there be material sent home to study off of? How well will it go to make a 3rd grader sit down and study for hours on end for a long test? Will there be parent involvement in studying? “
Educators also have their own worries about this law, as they know not all students function the same way or learn the same either.
“I am a resource teacher for K-1st and my oldest is in kindergarten. I don’t think they should base it off of if students pass a test or not. As was mentioned some students aren’t good test takers but can do the work throughout the year. What if they had a bad day and bombed the test? Then they have to repeat a whole grade because of one bad test. That’s not right and I feel that some students would be held back for the wrong reason,” said Heather Lowery.
The law is getting people to talk on both sides as many see cons to the retention act.
Becca Griskey, an education major at Austin Peay said, “I feel it is good as our children have struggled since Covid but parents didn’t take that seriously. Kids need a good reading foundation to do well in the coming years. I like the option of summer school to give a last chance. I feel kids deserve a good education and this may be what’s needed to give them this deserved education.”
More on the law can be found here.