The standardized testing scores of students across the state of Tennessee heavily declined in the past year, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The results released by Governor Bill Lee and the Department of Education revealed that scores showed a 5% decrease in proficiency since the year prior.

“These results show that COVID-19 has disrupted learning in every school district in Tennessee. We’re grateful for the dedication of our educators and districts who worked to mitigate this loss over the past year, and we’re committed to implementing long-term strategies and investments to get our students back on track,” said Governor Bill Lee.

Of the subjects, students seemingly struggled with math the most. Approximately 25% of all students achieved grade-level expectations in the subject.

“Since last school year, districts, schools, and educators have worked tirelessly to adapt to this new reality, met and exceeded ambitious goals to ensure our students tested, and are ready to start the new school year strong. Now is the time for our state to come together to support our students. We must operate with urgency and conviction that, together, we will do what is necessary to provide all students with an excellent education,” added Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn.

The results also demonstrated the urgent need for many students to return to in-person learning. While the scores dropped across the board, districts that provided opportunities for in-person instruction in 2020-21 saw less decline in student proficiency.

In a previous attempt to curb the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, Lee called a special legislative session on education in January.

During the session, state lawmakers mandated third-grade students read on grade level before graduating to fourth grade, established tutors and summer learning camps for students who fell behind in certain subjects, and removed accountability for standardized testing results.

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for the Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to
Photo “Gowns & Masks” by Phil Roeder (CC BY 2.0).