Third grade retention law

In 2021, the Tennessee General Assembly revised the state’s law regarding the promotion of students from third grade.

These changes require students to achieve an “on-track” or “mastered” score on the third-grade English Language Arts (ELA) TCAP assessment or they may be retained in the third grade.

Students took the TCAP in April. This assessment is an important measure of your child’s performance with English Language Arts (ELA) content and their ability to demonstrate that they have learned the necessary third-grade ELA standards.

The Tennessee Department of Education has established an appeals process.

Students who have achieved the performance level of “approaching” on the ELA portion of the TCAP can file an appeal to the State Board of Education. The department may grant an appeal for promotion to the fourth grade if:  

  • The student received a score above the 40th percentile on their spring universal reading screener; or
  • A catastrophic situation occurred during the days leading up to the TCAP test that impacted the third grade student’s ability to perform on the test or the retake. Examples of a catastrophic situation include, but are not limited to, a death in the immediate family, loss of a family home, or significant medical diagnosis. 

The law and subsequent rules require that if an appeal is filed, the filing must be made by the student’s parent or guardian. The appeal must be filed within 14 calendar days of the receipt of notification that the student has scored "approaching" on the TCAP test. The appeal window will close on June 30.

Parents must have their State Student ID number (SSID) which can be provided by schools along with results from the spring screening administration in order to file an appeal. 

Parent Appeal Form (the appeal form will be live on Tuesday, May 30)

Appeals Process Information