Tennessee Department of Education News

We are regularly updated by the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) and are committed to keeping our stakeholders and school community informed and up-to-date. Keep an eye out for regular updates and highlights from the TDOE!
News and Updates from TDOE

This month, the Tennessee Department of Education is promoting the annual Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP), which will be administered to students in grades 3-8 from April 15 – May 3.  

Students in schools across the state will take state summative assessments in general education subject areas—including English language arts (ELA), math, science, and social studies—to show what they know and collect valuable data to inform strategic decision-making on how to best support Tennessee students. 

Overall, the statewide 2022-23 TCAP student participation rate was 99%, with 92 districts achieving a 99% participation rate, with the state-level results demonstrating increases in academic proficiency for students across all tested subjects and grades. 

The department provides parents and caregivers with on-demand access to their students' state test results and see sample test questions through the TCAP Family Portal. Resources to support educators in helping their students prepare for testing can be found through Schoolnet, a statewide formative platform. 
The department also provides a variety of at-home resources for parents to support their child’s reading development, including
interactive Decodables and more on Best for All Central. Click here for additional learning acceleration resources. 

For more information on the state’s assessments, click here. To learn more about learning acceleration pathways and resources, click here. For additional at-home reading resources, the TCAP Family Portal score reports, and sample test questions, visit Best for All Central’s Featured Family Resources


TDOE Releases 2022-23 School Letter Grades 

On December 21st, the department released the 2022-23 School Letter Grades, in alignment with a law passed in 2016, to provide a snapshot of how each school in the state is doing in meeting the state’s expectations for learning, including student achievement and academic growth measures for all schools, as well as a measure of college and career readiness just for high schools.   

School Letter Grades are available via a public dashboard here. Additional information and resources about letter grades are available here.    


Several factors determine school letter grades for each school, including student achievement, academic growth, growth of the highest need students, and a measure of college and career readiness just for high schools. School letter grades will also be visible in the fully refreshed State Report Card in early 2024. 

Free Academic Success Coaching for Your Student

We’re excited to tell you about a free program, ENGAGE TN, that will provide your student with an extra layer of academic support this school year. Here’s what one parent had to say about this program: 


“I couldn't ask for better dedication and support for my daughter. Our Academic Success Coach is a blessing and has incredible energy. I love how she got my daughter out of her shell and talking more (and finding her voice to speak up more). Thanks to our coach and this program, my daughter loves school and learning again. This program is the best thing that could ever happen for my daughter and me!” — ENGAGE parent 


Through an initiative funded by the Tennessee General Assembly, the Tennessee Department of Education has partnered with Graduation Alliance to provide an extra layer of support for K-12 students and their families to boost school engagement and academic success during the school year. 


If your student chooses to participate in the program, they will be assigned an Academic Success Coach who will answer questions, connect them with resources, and develop a plan to help them stay on track and engaged with their schooling! 


Their coach will reach out by phone, email, text message, and more to provide support such as: 

  • Encouragement and motivation to help them stay on track with their studies 
  • Organization and study tips 
  • Technical support or assistance connecting with teachers 
  • Educational resources and exercises to help strengthen reading and math skills 
  • Referrals to local agencies and organizations that can provide support for life challenges 

We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity! If you have any questions, feel free to email the program directly at [email protected] or visit RegisterTN.GraduationAlliance.com. 




Estimado/a padre, madre o tutor:


Nos complace informarle sobre un programa gratuito, ENGAGE <<State>>, que proporcionará a su estudiantes mayor apoyo académico este curso escolar. Este es el testimonio de uno de los padres sobre este programa:


«La dedicación y el apoyo a mi hija son inmejorables. Hemos tenido tanta suerte con nuestra instructora de éxito académico, quien tiene una energía increíble. Me encanta que haya conseguido que mi hija salga de su caparazón y hable más (y que encuentre su voz para expresarse más). Gracias a nuestra instructora y a este programa, a mi hija vuelve a gustarle la escuela y aprender. ¡Este programa es lo mejor que nos ha podido pasar a mi hija y a mí!»

 — Progenitor de ENGAGE



 A través de una iniciativa financiada por la Asamblea General de Tennessee, el Departamento de Educación de Tennessee se ha asociado con Graduation Alliance para ofrecer un nivel adicional de apoyo a los estudiantes de K-12 y a sus familias para impulsar el compromiso escolar y el éxito académico a lo largo del curso escolar.


Si su estudiante decide participar en el programa, se le asignará un instructor para el éxito académico, quien responderá a sus preguntas, le facilitará recursos y elaborará un plan para ayudarle a seguir por el buen camino y a implicarse en sus estudios.


Su instructor se comunicará por teléfono, correo electrónico, mensaje de texto y otros medios para brindarle apoyo, como:

  • Ánimo y motivación para ayudarle a no perder el rumbo de sus estudios.
  • Consejos para estudiar y organizarse.
  • Soporte técnico o asistencia para comunicarse con los profesores.
  • Recursos educativos y ejercicios para reforzar las habilidades de Matemáticas y Lectura.
  • Derivaciones a organizaciones y entidades locales que pueden proporcionar apoyo con los desafíos de la vida.


Por eso, ¡le animamos a que aproveche esta oportunidad! Si tiene alguna pregunta, no dude en enviar un correo electrónico al programa directamente a [email protected] or visitar RegisterTN.GraduationAlliance.com.


Un cordial saludo,


Escuelas del condado de Bedford

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Statewide Dual Credit Essay Changes Beginning in Fall 2023 

Audience: Directors of Schools, Educators 
Contact: [email protected] 

Beginning in the fall 2023 semester, the following statewide dual credit courses will undergo changes to the processes by which essays or additional course requirements are graded and how final grades are reported in the EPSO database: 

  • American History (G04HB3): Students who score less than a 60 percent on their multiple-choice exam will not have their essay graded because they do not have the ability to reach the cut score for college credit with a maximum essay score. Challenge exam grades for exams that did not receive an essay grade will be reported as not graded (NG). 
  • World History (G04HB4): Students who score less than a 40 percent on their multiple-choice exam will not have their essays graded because they do not have the ability to reach the cut score for college credit with a maximum essay score. Challenge exam grades for exams that did not receive an essay grade will be reported as not graded (NG). 
  • Principles of Marketing (C31H27): Submissions that do not include a marketing plan will receive a challenge exam grade of incomplete (INC). 
  • Introduction to Education (C32H28): Submissions that do not include evidence of 20 observation hours and the mentor teacher evaluation will receive a challenge exam grade of incomplete (INC). 
  • Speech and Communication (G01H71): Submissions that do not include both a speech and outline will not be graded and will receive a challenge exam grade of incomplete (INC). 

These changes do not impact a student’s ability to earn Ready Graduate status from EPSO credits. For additional questions, reach out to Liza Ambrose, Early Postsecondary Opportunities program manager at [email protected]. 

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TDOE Releases School Letter Grades Calculation  

Audience: Directors of Schools 
Contact: [email protected] 

On November 2, the Tennessee Department of Education released the calculation to generate A-F letter grades for schools, in alignment with state law. School Letter Grades will measure how the state’s K-12 schools are serving students and helping them succeed academically.  


In 2016, T.C.A. § 49-1-228 was established and required the department to develop a school letter grading system beginning in the 2017-18 school year in order to provide parents and families with a rating system for school performance. Following passage of the legislation, testing administration issues and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed a roll-out of school letter grades as part of Tennessee’s state accountability system; however, the law will be implemented for the first time this year.   


Over the past several months, the department has invited Tennesseans across the state to engage on this topic via public town halls, a working group of stakeholders, and a public comment opportunity to discuss legal requirements for the calculation.   


The calculation to generate A-F letter grades for schools, presented to the State Board of Education, includes up to four separate indicators—overall success rate for achievement, overall growth, growth for the lowest performing 25% of students in the school, and a college and career readiness indicator—and will differentiate between elementary and middle schools, and high schools. Schools will receive a sub-score for each indicator, ranging from levels 1-5, and each sub-score will be multiplied by assigned weights to generate an aggregate score then will be cross walked to determine the school’s letter grade.  

Learn more about these school letter grades here. 

The Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) public school funding formula marks a significant change in how Tennessee invests in public education. The TISA funding formula updates the way Tennessee funds public education for the first time in over 30 years to empower each student to read proficiently by third grade, prepare each high school graduate for postsecondary success, and provide resources needed for all students to ensure they succeed. As part of TISA, T.C.A. § 49-3-112 requires each school district, starting in the 2023-24 school year, to submit an annual accountability report to TDOE. Each district's TISA accountability report is required to be presented to the public for review and comment before the report is submitted to TDOE.
Please see Bedford County School's TISA Accountability Report below and a form for providing your comments as well. All comments must be submitted by Friday, October 13, 2023.
If you have any questions, please contact the BCS Central Office at 931-684-3284 and ask for the Director of Attendance, Data & Accountability Terise Rhodes. 

TDOE Announces School Letter Grades Working Group Members

Nearly 300 Public Comments Submitted


NASHVILLE, TN As the next phase of the engagement process on how to determine School Letter Grades, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the working group members representing district and school leaders, elected officials, parents, and education stakeholders to review the public comment submitted and make recommendations on the new calculations for each letter grade.  


In 2016, T.C.A. § 49-1-228 was established and required the department to develop a school letter grading system beginning in 2017-18 to provide parents and families with information that shows how our public schools are performing. The state’s letter grade legislation is intended to provide a snapshot of how each school performed during the previous academic year and compare those results over time.  


Following passage of the legislation, testing administration issues and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed a roll-out of school letter grades as part of Tennessee’s state accountability system. Simultaneously, the U.S. Department of Education is requiring adjustments to components of Tennessee’s plan to comply with federal accountability requirements. Nevertheless, after months of coordination and discussions with Tennessee elected officials and stakeholders, the department is prepared to move forward in creating a calculation for school letter grades. 


During August and September, nearly 300 public comments were submitted from Tennesseans on their top priorities for measuring a school’s academic success, and how the state should measure progress towards those priorities. Public comments were submitted via e-mail, written, and also during the 10 town halls hosted in each region of the state. 


“This next phase of work brings us one step closer to fulfilling the state’s promise to its citizens to create a letter grade calculation for schools that is transparent, meaningful and easy to understand,” said Lizzette Reynolds, Commissioner of Education. “This group will move forward with those goals in mind to help create calculations to clearly show how Tennessee’s schools are performing so they can target student academic needs.” 


The School Letter Grades Working Group will deliberate and determine the new school letter grades calculations. All working group meetings and materials will be posted online for the public to access. View the schedule for the working group meetings here: 

  • Thursday, October 5: Meeting 1- Introductions & Overview of the Task at Hand
  • Tuesday, October 10: Meeting 2- Required Component of the A-F Calculation: Achievement
  • Thursday, October 12: Meeting 3- Required Component of the A-F Calculation: Growth
  • Monday, October 16: Meeting 4- Required Component of the A-F Calculation: Other Indicators
  • Friday, October 20: Meeting 5- Putting it All Together: Weighting


Members of the School Letter Grades Working Group include: 

  • Aleah Guthrie, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE)  
  • Bob Eby, Chairman, Tennessee State Board of Education  
  • Bob Nardo, Executive Director, Libertas School of Memphis  
  • Chrisi Bollinger, Analytics, Strategy, and Special Projects, Emerald Charter Schools  
  • Christy Carrol Highfill, Vice President of Advocacy, TN PTA  
  • Christy Hovanetz, Senior Policy Fellow, ExcelinEd  
  • Corby King, Director of Schools, Putnam County Schools  
  • Debra Moody, House Education Instruction Committee Chairlady 
  • Eddie Pruett, Director of Schools, Gibson County Special School District  
  • Erin O’Hara Block, School Board Member, Metro-Nashville Public Schools  
  • Francisco Moreno, Parent  
  • Gini Pupo Walker, Executive Director, Ed Trust  
  • Harold Love Jr., House Education Administration Committee Member
  • JC Bowman, Executive Director & CEO, Professional Educators of Tennessee  
  • Jean Luna-Vedder, Director of Schools, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools  
  • Jenna Sharp, Principal, Clinton City Schools  
  • Jim Mcintyre, Dean of the College of Education and Assistant Provost for Academic Excellence, Belmont University  
  • Joey Vaughn, Director of Schools, Manchester City Schools  
  • Jon Lundberg, Senate Education Committee Chairman
  • Kevin Deck, Assessment Analyst, Williamson County Schools  
  • Kim Inglish, 2022-23 Teacher of the Year Grand Division Winner, Murfreesboro City Schools  
  • Kirk Haston, House K-12 Education Subcommittee Chairman 
  • Kyle Loudermilk, 2022-23 Principal of the Year, Kingsport City Schools  
  • Margaret Bright, Teacher, Lenoir City Schools  
  • Maria Paula Zapata, Director of Programs, Conexion Americas  
  • Mark White, House Education Administration Chairman 
  • Mary Graham, President, United Ways of Tennessee  
  • Melissa Collins, 2022-23 Teacher of the Year, Memphis-Shelby County Schools  
  • Missy Testerman, 2023-24 Teacher of the Year, Rogersville City Schools  
  • Nate Morrow, Board Member, State Board of Education  
  • Norma Gerrell, Director of Schools, Paris Special School District  
  • Patsy Hazlewood, House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee Chairlady 
  • Raumesh Akbari, Senate Minority Leader 
  • Russell Dyer, Director of Schools Cleveland City Schools  
  • Ryan Holt, Board Member, State Board of Education  
  • Sarah Carpenter, Executive Director, Memphis Lift
  • Sara Morrison, Executive Director, State Board of Education  
  • Scott Cepicky, House Education Instruction Subcommittee Chairman    
  • Tammy Garrett, Director of Schools, Bedford County Schools  
  • Tanya Coates, President, Tennessee Education Association 
  • Tim Parrott, Director of Schools, Anderson County Schools  
  • Tim Ware, Executive Director, Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School  
  • Tyler Salyer, Principal, Collierville Schools  
  • Venita Doggett, Director of Advocacy, Memphis Education Fund  
  • Victor Evans, Executive Director, TennesseeCAN  
  • Warren Wells, Board Member, State Board of Education  
  • Wendy Hansard, Assistant Principal, Knox County Schools  
  • Yetta Lewis, Principal, Gestalt Community Schools


Learn more about these school letter grades here. For media inquiries, contact [email protected].   

Free ACT Retake Opportunities Available for All Tennessee High School Seniors 

The free ACT retake opportunity is now available for public high school seniors in Tennessee to boost their scores on the ACT college entrance exam.   
Tennessee leads the nation in ACT access, offering public high school students the opportunity to take the ACT two times for free during normal school hours. Public school students test once in the spring of their junior year, and then have an opportunity to retake the ACT in the fall of their senior year during normal school hours. In Fall 2022, on average, 75% of students who participated in the ACT senior retake improved their superscore. 


Districts across the state will be able to offer the free fall ACT retake opportunities during one of the following windows:  


  • October 3-5, 2023 
  • October 10-12, 2023
  • October 17-19, 2023
  • October 24-26, 2023
  • October 31-November 2, 2023
  • November 7-9, 2023


Since 2018, the General Assembly has provided funding for the ACT Senior Retake in every budget, with nearly 84,000 students having earned the necessary score to qualify for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship. This totals over $550M to support future postsecondary opportunities for students across the state.  


Aligned with the department’s Best for All strategic plan, the ACT provides essential data and context for state and district leaders on student readiness for postsecondary opportunities. Students who score a 21 or higher on the ACT also meet criteria for Ready Graduate, the state’s indicator to reward schools and districts whose high school graduates demonstrate postsecondary readiness.   


To learn more about the state’s college readiness testing program, including the ACT and SAT, visit the department’s College Readiness Testing webpage.  



AP Access for ALL Enters Third Year of Supporting Thousands of Tennessee Students  

On Wednesday, September 27th, the department, in partnership with the Niswonger Foundation, highlighted the 2023 AP Access for ALL Annual Impact Report as the AP Access for ALL (APAA) program enters the third year of providing free, online advanced placement (AP) classes to Tennessee high school students. More than 2,200 students signed up to take APAA courses this fall, an increase of more than 77% from the start of the 2022-23 school year.   


Before the launch of APAA in June 2021, only 50% of Tennessee high school students had access to an AP course at their school. Now, 97% of Tennessee school districts have partnered with APAA, allowing more students than ever to have access to college-preparatory coursework. Over the last two years, APAA students took 2,629 AP exams, with more than half earning scores considered by the College Board to be “college ready” or better. These scores allow students to bypass entry-level college classes, providing students $1.2 million in potential college savings.  


Student enrollment for the 2024 spring semester opens in November, and free AP training and mini-grants to improve AP classrooms will once again be available for Tennessee educators in Summer 2024.  


For a full list of participating districts, courses offered, and more information, click here. For additional information about APAA, click here. 

PBS Programming Continues During September Statewide  

The department continues its regular PBS block and is providing academic instructional videos airing on PBS statewide, which provide video lessons for Pre-K-2 students.   


Families can watch these instructional video lessons created specifically for Tennessee students on all six state PBS stations – WNPT Nashville, East Tennessee PBS, WCTE Upper Cumberland, WKNO Memphis, West TN PBS, and Chattanooga WTCI from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. CST.  


The schedule for September can be found on the department’s website. PBS Teaching Tennessee classroom lessons for 1st- 8th grade students can be found on the department's YouTube page. All 320 lessons have companion teacher lesson plans and student packets. Learn more here.