Despite an abrupt closure to schools last school year, Tullahoma students have only increased their knowledge and comprehension, state assessment results revealed. Tullahoma City Schools saw “tremendous growth” when the state released the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment data recently, school officials announced.

TVAAS measures students’ academic growth over time rather than student proficiency on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) and End of Course (EOC) examinations. TVASS helps educators identify best practices, implement programs that best meet the needs of their students and make informed decisions about where to focus resources to ensure growth opportunities for all students. TVAAS results are placed on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the highest level of improvement.

Tullahoma City Schools had significant improvements in all subject areas across all grade levels, according to the results. As a district, TCS received a 5 in composite, literacy, numeracy and literacy & numeracy.

The previous spring semester marked the first time students across the state returned to end-of-year assessments after the sudden closure of school in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The most recent test results will serve as a baseline for the district to determine students’ strong points and what areas need focus and improvement.

“In the face of a challenging year, to see and have this type of growth that we as a district had, it is absolutely amazing,” Director of Schools Dr. Catherine Stephens said. “To place these results in context, scoring a three demonstrates one year of growth in a subject area. Our staff and students worked so hard throughout this past school year, and that effort was reflected in the release of the recent TVAAS data, which highlights fives and significant growth from our students.”

Tullahoma students saw exponential growth in all subjects on the EOC exams at the high school level as well, TVAAS data revealed. Tullahoma High School students received 5s in algebra I and II, geometry, biology and U.S. history. Students received 4s in English I and II.

“A 4 represents more than a year’s worth of growth, while a 5 is a significant year of growth,” TCS Director of Curriculum Susan Fanning said. “To see this amount of 5s across the district, particularly in a difficult year with the ongoing pandemic, is tremendous.”

The results also showed where the district needs to direct more attention in order to better assist students. Sixth-grade students, for example, received a 1 in social studies, which equates to “significant evidence that the district’s students made less growth than expected.” Sixth graders also received a 5 in math, 4 in English language arts (ELA) and a 3 in science. Seventh graders received a 5 in math, 2 in ELA and 1s in science and social studies. Eighth graders recorded a 5 in ELA, 3 in social studies, a 2 in math and 1 in science.

“Tullahoma City Schools had a 97.4 percent participation rate in these end-of-year assessments, which was higher than the state’s 95 percent rate, and we are proud of that,” Stephens said. “While there are areas to celebrate, we certainly recognize there are opportunities to improve. Our teachers, instructional coaches and administrators will begin the work of analyzing these results to make appropriate instructional decisions and meet our students’ needs as we continue forward reaching for success.

Additionally, state assessment results show THS students saw growth in ACT composite scores this past spring. High school students achieved 5s in composite, English, math and reading while also receiving a 4 in science/reasoning.

“As a whole, we are pleased with the success and the amount of growth that the TVAAS results show,” Stephens said. “Our students and teachers deserve high praise for these results, as they put in the effort and work to see this successful outcome.

“Moving forward, we will use this data, along with other data sources, to continue to aid our students’ growth and development. TCS faculty and staff are continuing to work hard to ensure that the growth seen in the most recent results continues to occur.”

Managing Editor

Erin McCullough has won awards for her news reporting, community lifestyles and education reporting in the three years she's been a journalist. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Tullahoma with her cat, Luna.

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