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Tenn. Department of Education sees success in academic summer camps that address learning loss

Improvements made in Math and English subjects
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Posted at 9:25 AM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 10:39:24-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Learning loss caused by the pandemic is something school districts across the mid-state are trying to address.

New data reveals Tennessee’s more than $160 million investment in academic summer camps to address the problem is working, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Education.

The Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act passed during a special session and provided funding to local school districts for K-8 academic summer camps across the state.

This new data from summer camps will further inform how the state, schools, teachers and families can support student success.

The data reveals more than 120,000 students enrolled in these summer programs across the state. Overall, data showed an improvement of nearly 6 percentage points in English and Language Arts.

Elementary grades saw an improvement of 7.34 percentage points and middle school grades saw an improvement of 0.66 percentage points.

For Math, overall data showed an improvement of about 10 percentage points.

Elementary grades saw an improvement of 11.66 percentage points and middle school grades saw an improvement of 6 percentage points.

Gov. Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Education are pleased with these results.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Vincent Dixie responded to the results in a statement:

“While I welcome any positive news on improving school test scores across the state, I think it’s a little early for a victory lap. I think the sample size of the students who attended summer school is pretty small and I’d wait until we find out more about this school year and the one million students who have struggled this year through the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and classes shutting down for weeks due to quarantines and the lack of consistent opportunities for remote learning during those quarantines. Without taking a deep dive into the data, I applaud any learning gains…but remain concerned that the lack of leadership from the Governor will wipe out any modest gains the Summer Learning Camps may have provided.”

A recent poll from the group SCORE released a poll that said more than half of Tennessee parents were worried about learning loss.

Tennessee's Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said there is a lot of work that lies ahead, but after seeing what the state accomplished this summer for students, she’s believes public schools are proving what’s possible.