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Exemptions and Appeals

Third grade students who scored “approaching” or “below” on the ELA section of their TCAP test are able to get important learning supports (example: Tutoring, Summer Learning Academy, etc.) from their school for free to ensure they are ready for grade-level lessons in 4th grade.

If a student’s family does not wish to take advantage of these supports, the student will be retained to 3rd grade the following school year and would not be promoted to 4th grade.

Your student’s school will notify you if your student is identified for retention and will provide information to you about the pathways that are available to your student to be able to move to 4th grade, including free summer school and/or tutoring supports.

What If I Don’t Want My Student to Be Retained in 3rd Grade?
Retaining a student in the 3rd grade is intended to provide an additional year of classroom instruction to prepare them for a successful academic experience in 4th grade, however parents of eligible students may submit this appeal form to the Tennessee Department of Education to request the student be promoted to 4th grade without any additional learning supports. By submitting an appeal form, a family will waive a student’s right to receive free tutoring and/or summer school programming to support their academic success.

Your student may also qualify to file an appeal or file for an exemption.


All students must take the benchmark assessments (including i-Ready and Mastery Connect) and TCAP assessments. The following students may be exempt by law:

  • Exceptional Ed. Students (case-by-case basis)
  • Students with a 504 (case-by-case basis)
  • Previously retained students
  • ELL students receiving less than 2 years of ELA instruction
  • Approved appeals to the TN Dept. of Education (see details below)
  • Retested students scoring proficient before the new year


Who can appeal?

In third (3rd) grade, if a student's ELA performance was "approaching" on the most recent TCAP test, the parent or legal guardian may directly appeal to the Department.

If a third-grade student receives "approaching" on the ELA portion of the TCAP, the child's parent may also submit an appeal within 14 days of receiving the retention decision from their child's school, documenting their child's growth on an approved benchmark of the Tennessee Universal Reading Screener or an event that impacts a child's ability to perform well on an assessment. Appeals must be submitted by parents/ legal guardians.


School & District Support for families who need to file an appeal

Each School site will have open labs for parents. CONTACT YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL FOR TIMES

The District is offering an open lab at the Teaching and Learning Academy (2485 Union Ave.) from 9 am – 5 pm

When can an appeal be made?

A parent or legal guardian may submit an appeal form to the District no later than fourteen (14) days after their student is identified as at risk for retention based on their most recent TCAP test scores.

How are appeal forms reviewed?

To determine whether an appeal is approved or denied, the Tennessee Department of Education will review the information provided on this form, which reports important data about your student’s academic performance in 3rd grade:

  • Your student’s score on the spring universal reading screener, which are your student’s teacher gives throughout the year to measure reading progress.

The department may grant an appeal for promotion to the 4th grade if:

  1. The student received score at or above the 40th percentile on their spring universal reading screener;
  2. ‐OR‐

  3. A catastrophic situation occurred during the days leading up to the TCAP test that impacted the 3rd grade student’s ability to perform on the test or the retake. Examples of a catastrophic situation include, but are not limited to, a death in the immediate family, loss of a family home, or significant medical diagnosis.

Is My Student Eligible to Appeal a Retention Decision?

  • If the 3rd grade student received an “approaching” score on the TCAP ELA test, their parent or guardian may complete this appeal form to request the student’s promotion to 4th grade. Note: If the appeal is approved, then the student may be promoted to the next grade but would not necessarily receive any additional learning supports that may benefit them.
  • If the 3rd grade student received a "below” score on the TCAP ELA test or the summer retake, this form does not apply and the student is not eligible for an appeal. In this case, your school will offer free summer school and/or tutoring supports to support your student in being able to move on to 4th grade.