MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Following the release of standardized testing scores across Tennessee, discussions are now underway about how the TCAP exposed inequity in education.
Wednesday, state revealed that 76 percent of third graders in Memphis-Shelby County Schools are not proficient in language arts.
Discussions surrounding inequity in education are underway. Keith Norman, a Memphis pastor, believes that funding is a component to the conversation.
“We should be trying to solve this problem to get a lower number,” Norman said. “If reading is fundamental — and it is — funding is also fundamental. In order to really have equity in any of the things that are taking place in our school system, we have to have equitable funding.”
MSCS wasn’t the only local district with a low proficiency rating. Only 16% of third graders in Fayette County Schools were proficient.
On the flip side, districts like Collierville and Germantown had proficiency rates above 73 percent.
Under state law, third graders would be held back unless they retake the test and make a proficient score, attend summer school, or go to tutoring.
“I think we have to reevaluate the testing model to determine whether a student should be held back because all students who don’t program well on this test are not necessarily preforming poorly in their reading model, some kids just don’t test well,” Norman said.
Statewide education officials claim that nearly 60 percent of third graders did not meet or exceed expectations on ELA for TCAP testing, leaving many to question the best path forward.
“We have to a commitment to say we’ll spend more in order to level the playing field,” Norman said.