NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Scores from the new and tougher TCAP test are trickling into parents mailboxes across the state. For many, the results are as bad as expected.
Educators said there is no doubt this test was harder and expects more from students than the previous TCAP. But parents should not be discouraged if their child dropped a level this year, it's all part of an adjustment period for teachers and students since this test now holds Tennessee to the second highest academic standards in the nation.
"I am all about raising the bar and raising expectations," parent Lloyd Hannon said.
But Hannon knows meeting these new and tougher expectations on Tennessee's TCAP standardized test won't happen overnight, or maybe even in a year.
"I definitely expected that they would go down because that is what we had been told," said Hannon.
Her fifth grade daughter is one of many who dropped down a level under the new TCAP assessment test. Hannon just hopes the down tick in scores isin fact only temporary.
"As a parent in the school system I would expect it to take no more than 2 years and really would like to see them close the gap in a year," said Hannon.
Educators said the previous test in Tennessee embellished students actual academic abilities. For example, under the old TCAP format, 89 percent of 8th graders measured proficient or advanced in Math, but under the new format, only 25 percent reached that level.
"This is truth in advertising, instead of telling parents oh yes, your student is advanced in this category instead of when they are really proficient that is not telling the whole truth," Eakin Elementary Principal Alison Effinger said.
That truth about just how well a student is doing in math, science, reading and social studies under standards higher than ever before in Tennessee and ones closer to the national level is coming out on paper this week.
The head of State Assessment for Metro Nashville Public Schools said the packet includes useful information for them as well as parents.
"There is information on here that can tell you where there is a specific opportunity for improvement," said Jan Lineberger.
She encourages parents to go through the packet and look and see exactly where their child is struggling and where they can help at home.
Principal Alison Effinger said it's an opportunity for teachers to see where they need to improve as well. At Eakin, they've added special classes for students struggling in certain subjects. They also purchased supplemental texts for math teachers to excel lessons.
And while the new TCAP scores may look bleak now, Effinger said new standards are the only way the state will ever be ranked in the top five in education instead of the current bottom five.
"I think we are going to see an up tick every single year we are not going to completely change everything overnight but we are going to get better every single year," Effinger said.