Analysis: 3rd-grade reading scores by school districts in Tennessee

See how each school district did on Tennessee’s 3rd grade reading test

By: - May 31, 2023 5:08 am
Federal funds make up an average of 11% of school district funds. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Federal funds make up an average of 11% of school district funds. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Third-grade reading scores by school district show a slight improvement for most Tennessee schools in 2023 compared to the average of recent years.

Last week Tennessee released its statewide testing scores, showing 60% of third graders weren’t proficient at reading. This is common — never have more than half of all Tennessee third graders been deemed proficient in any given year since at least 2011.

Education officials use the third-grade reading tests as a benchmark for learning. Republican lawmakers cite studies showing students who can’t read by third grade are more likely to fall behind and not graduate.

Many Democratic lawmakers have criticized the tests for being arbitrary and not an accurate indication of a student’s reading ability.

This year’s tests come with higher stakes, though, after lawmakers passed a bill requiring any student who doesn’t pass to attend summer school or potentially have to repeat the grade.

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Adam Friedman
Adam Friedman

Adam Friedman is a reporter with the Tennessee Lookout. He has a particular love for data and using numbers to explain all kinds of topics. If you have a story idea, he'd love to hear it. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 615-249-8509.