Memphis-Shelby County Schools is trending up!
Our students made gains in every grade and nearly every subject on the 2021-22 TCAP exam, also known as the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program. State data publicly released Wednesday shows that the District’s multi-million dollar investment in high dosage tutoring, professional development, and summer, fall, and spring learning academies led to the strongest high school English scores in five years and near double-digit gains in elementary reading and elementary math.
“I am thrilled that our elementary and middle school reading scores have returned to pre-pandemic levels and our high school reading scores have surpassed them," said Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray, who has championed the District’s Literacy is Life campaign. “We are trending in the right direction, but we know we have more work to do. We are encouraged, not satisfied."
Information on individual schools and students remain under embargo, and the state will permit the District to release that data at a later date.
As part of the District’s plan to reimagine education, MSCS focused on high-impact initiatives, using federal and state stimulus dollars to implement them. In addition to tutoring and the three learning academies, MSCS also reduced the adult-to-student ratio in K-2, enrolled more students in Advanced Placement and honors classes to increase academic rigor, and held year-round professional development sessions that promoted four key instructional practices:
The initiatives helped the District improve over the prior year’s results in every area except high school Biology where teachers are adjusting to new state standards.
According to Literacy Mid-South, 1 in 7 local adults read at or below a sixth-grade level, in part, due to the strain of concentrated poverty and trauma. This community-wide struggle with illiteracy is one of the reasons MSCS has doubled-down on reading. On the 2022 TCAP exam, 9% of students in the state-run Achievement School District, 22% of MSCS students, and 36% of Tennessee students demonstrated proficiency in English. In Math, 6% of students in the state-run Achievement School District, 13% of MSCS students, and 30% of Tennessee students demonstrated proficiency.
“The District made gains in math, but like the rest of the state, our proficiency in math has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels," said MSCS Chief Academic Officer Jaron Carson. “Numeracy and literacy are interconnected-especially at the middle and high school levels where students tackle word problems. We are confident that the reading comprehension and reasoning skills we are emphasizing will continue to help us move the needle in math."
MSCS will provide additional instructional support for middle and high school teachers and students in the upcoming school year. The District is also working to recruit more tutors, and community members interested in joining our tutoring team may find more information here.
“These are community schools and recovering from the pandemic disruption will take a community effort," said Superintendent Ray. “Although we still have miles to go, I am so proud of the resilience our educators, parents, and students continue to show. We are bouncing back stronger together."