Posted 3/15/23

A new Tennessee law focused on third grade literacy is swinging into action.

The test used to measure reading levels will be given this spring, with results released as the school year ends in May. Based on those outcomes, an unknown number of students will need to attend a summer learning camp in June, receive tutoring throughout their fourth grade or repeat third grade.

Teachers across the state are trying to give extra preparation time to third graders who need it ahead of the state assessment.

The Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act, passed in 2021, affects third grade students this year who don’t reach proficiency levels on their state English Language Arts assessment. In 2021, 64 percent of Tennessee third graders fell into that category.

School administrators across the state, as well as parents and teachers, are grappling with how to navigate the new state law meant to help students mitigate learning losses caused by COVID-19.

Part of lawmakers’ motivation for passing new education policies in 2021 was to address the state’s literacy shortcomings and to bolster early education.

As lawmakers stressed during the 2021 special legislative session, those early years are critical to academic achievement.