Third Grade

Promotion and Retention of Third Grade Students


Update May 30: Appeal Window Opens

The window for appeals to the TN Department of Education is now open through the TDOE Retention Appeal Form.

Parents or guardians of 3rd grade students who were "approaching" expectations on either the ELA portion of the Spring TCAP administration, or on the re-takes administered May 22 through 24, may be eligible for an appeal of the retention if they met one of the following conditions: 

  • Student scored at or 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 3rd grade student’s ability to perform on the test or the re-test. 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.

School officials have been asked to assist any families with what they need to file an appeal, which would include the student’s spring universal screener percentile ranking as well as the state-issued student ID. Please contact your school if you have questions or need support to get the documentation necessary for an appeal. 

Information about individual screening assessment scores can also be found on the Personalized Student Dashboard (also called Campus Portal) under the District Tests section. The relevant information is the FAST aReading assessment conducted in the Spring of 2023, and a student would need to be in the 40th percentile or higher to qualify under the rules provided to us by the TDOE. 


 How the Tennessee State Law May Affect Your Student

In 2021, the Tennessee General Assembly passed a law that requires 3rd grade students to "meet or exceed" expectations on the ELA portion of TCAP testing, or receive intervention services provided by the school district, in order to be promoted to the 4th grade. It is important to know that most students in Tennessee (nearly 65% in 2022) do not "meet or exceed" expectations on this test due to the intentionally difficult standards, so it is a law that will impact many families across the state and it may not reflect the growth and progress your student may be making towards their learning goals. 

Metro Nashville Public Schools is mandated by the state to enact the provisions of this law, and our teams at the district and school level are going to work with families to ensure you have the information and resources you need for your student to remain on track in their education.

This page provides information on how the law works and what you can expect for your student and from your school in the coming months.
What is the TCAP Test? 

TCAP stands for the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, and students in grades 3-8 are required by the state to be assessed on their knowledge or mastery of the Tennessee State Education Standards for their grade level in areas such as ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies. 

  • TCAP assessments for 3rd graders took place at each school during the window of April 17 through April 28 of 2023. 
  • TCAP results for 3rd grade students should be available to families by May 19 according to the Tennessee Department of Education.
  • MNPS uses benchmark assessments at three points throughout the school year to measure the growth and progress of students in alignment to the educational standards that are measured by TCAP. 
  • Some students may take alternative assessments to the TCAP test based on their individual needs. two third-grade students

As TCAP results are not available until the very end or after the school year concludes, we are encouraging all 3rd grade families to sign their student up for the Promising Scholars summer learning camp now to save your place if needed. Regardless of whether they are required to attend, we believe it is a great opportunity for students to engage in free summer learning with their peers, with transportation and meals provided at no-cost.

Our Accelerating Scholars high-impact tutoring program is another support that may be required for students to participate in during the 23-24 school year based on their TCAP scores. Those supports and interventions will be assigned by the school and families are not required to sign-up in advance. 

The Law May Not Apply to Students in Three Specific Categories

If you answer Yes to any of these questions, the mandates in this law likely will not apply to your child:

  • Does your child have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that provides services for reading?
  • Has your child received less than two years of English Language (EL) services?
  • Is your child currently being evaluated for a disability (IEP) that might include services for reading?
Has Your Child Been Previously Retained?
  • If your child has been previously retained in Grades K to 3, the mandates in this law will not apply to your child.
Did Your Child Receive an Approaching Expectations Score?
  • If your child received, or is projected to receive, a score of Approaching Expectations for ELA your child is at risk of not meeting proficiency criteria. The law requires that they participate in a summer learning camp or receive high-impact tutoring the following school year. You should plan for your child to attend Promising Scholars this summer to meet the mandates in this new state law.
    •  The district sent letters in December and February notifying parents of their child’s predicted proficiency level. 
  • Parents of students in the Approaching category may also appeal the decision to the Tennessee Board of Education under certain circumstances. 
Did Your Child Receive a Below Expectations Score?
  • If your child received, or is projected to receive, a score of Below Expectations for ELA, your child is at risk of not meeting proficiency criteria. Students receiving a below expectations score will be required to attend a summer learning camp and receive high-impact tutoring in the following school year. You should plan for your child to attend Promising Scholars this summer and participate in the Accelerating Scholars high-impact tutoring program during the upcoming school year to meet the mandates in this new state law.
    • The district sent letters in December and February notifying parents of their child’s predicted proficiency level. 
Assessment Re-Take Plans
  • If your child receives a score of Below Expectations or Approaching Expectations, students will re-take the test at their school between May 22 and May 24. The re-take examinations will be a shorter version of the ELA portion of TCAP, administered online, and take approximately 75 minutes to complete. Parents should know their student's results within approximately two (2) days following the conclusion of testing in the district. 

It is highly recommended for all students who re-take the assessment to enroll and plan for participating in Promising Scholars.


Third Grade Promotion Law Frequently Asked Questions


Resources and Translated Documents