While Tennessee’s scores on what is known as the Nation’s Report Card remained the same, the performance of other states improved, dropping the volunteer state’s national ranking.
The Tennessee Department of Education on Tuesday released its results in the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, showing no statistical change in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores.
The state dropped from 45th to 46th in the nation in fourth-grade math; from 39th to 41st in fourth-grade reading; from 43rd to 45th in eighth-grade math; and from 34th to 41st in eighth-grade reading.
Also according to the results, 26 percent of fourth-grade students are proficient in reading, and 30 percent are proficient in math. Twenty-seven percent of eighth-grade students are proficient in reading, while 24 percent are proficient in math.
Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said the results must serve as a call to action.
“The reality is that in today’s world, if you stand still, you get passed,” Huffman said. “It’s not good enough to not go backward, or improve only slightly — we want to be the fastest-improving state in the nation.”
Tennessee’s results also show that economically disadvantaged students in neighboring states such as Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas and North Carolina now score higher in every tested area than do poor students in Tennessee.
Ralph Schulz, president and CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, encouraged educators and state officials to continue the important reform work already begun in Tennessee.
“We have an educational emergency. These results underline the urgency of pressing forward with the necessary reforms,” Schulz said. “If we’re going to ensure the future economic prosperity of our state, we can’t go back — we have to step up.”