For the second year in a row, Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) students made improvements in proficiency rates on the TCAP exam.
According to data released today by the Tennessee Department of Education, the percentage of MSCS students who Met or Exceeded Expectations from 2022 to 2023 increased in 10 out of 11 categories. These gains by MSCS students outpaced state gains in an impressive eight out of the 11 categories.
“Our proficiency rates are on the rise, and we're riding a wave of momentum in Memphis-Shelby County Schools,” said Interim Superintendent Toni Williams.
“These back-to-back TCAP gains reflect the dedication and hard work of students, families, and educators. While we will continue this work in our classrooms, our children also need additional support beyond the classroom because reversing poverty's negative impact on academic achievement takes a united community effort,” added Williams.
Nearly three in five MSCS students are considered economically disadvantaged by federal guidelines. Economically disadvantaged students traditionally need more support to close the achievement gap.
The number of MSCS students in grades 3-12 who Met or Exceeded Expectations in ELA rose from 21.4% in 2022 to 22.1% in 2023. Statewide, students meeting the same benchmark grew from 36.4% to 38%.
The number of MSCS students in grades 3-12 who Met or Exceeded Expectations in Math rose from 12.8% in 2022 to 15.2% in 2023. Statewide, students meeting the same benchmark grew from 30.6% to 33.8%.
The District has invested heavily in extended learning opportunities, including the Fall, Spring, and Summer Learning Academy which gives students extra time with teachers during holiday breaks. Schools in the District's intervention model, iZone, also receive an extra hour of instruction each day. Additionally, tutoring offered before, during, and after school allows for small group instruction at every school districtwide.
The District's benchmark for each student is 5% growth each season (Fall, Winter, Spring). Tutored students who regularly attended their sessions were much more likely to meet or exceed the 5% growth target.
Upon disaggregating the TCAP data by grade level, the results show that extra intervention is needed for 7th graders who showed some dips in performance. Today's release of data by the Tennessee Department of Education does not factor in the accountability measures that make adjustments for newly arrived English language learners, special education students taking alternate assessments, and students who were enrolled in MSCS less than 50% of the year. Those adjustments traditionally improve MSCS scores. Future components of the accountability model, such as the TVAAS growth scores, will shed more light on students' individual growth and inform future interventions.
Taking grades 3-12 collectively, the results indicate that the MSCS English Language Arts proficiency rates have exceeded pre-pandemic proficiency levels, showcasing the resilience of students and teachers. Similar to the state's results, MSCS math scores have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, but MSCS students improved in every grade in math and science, indicating strong momentum. Momentum is also evident in high school with nearly across-the-board improvement on the End of Course subject-area tests.
Parents can gain insight into their child's performance through the Tennessee Department of Education's Family Portal linked here, which opened July 14. To access the portal, parents must use their child's state ID number (instructions are available in the left column). This resource not only includes the 2023 test scores but also provides access to results from previous years, enabling parents to track their child's progress. Parents are also encouraged to connect with their school administrators to learn more about the intervention programs in their child's school.
“We want to engage, equip, and empower parents so that we can lift all students,” said Deputy Superintendent Angela Whitelaw. “We thank our educators and families for all their efforts last year, while acknowledging that we have continued work to do this year. The District remains focused on extending learning and extending gains.”