Important Announcements:

2022 Nation’s Report Card Confirms Pandemic Impact on Tennessee Students

State Learning Loss Interventions Already Launched to Accelerate Student Achievement

NASHVILLE: Today’s release (opens link in new tab) of the 2022 Nation’s Report Card from the National Center of Educational Progress (NAEP) highlighted the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on students in Tennessee and nationwide and confirms the need for comprehensive academic supports and interventions that Tennessee has already launched to recover and accelerate student learning. 

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) — commonly called the Nation’s Report Card — provides estimates of student achievement across subjects, using a sampling of students within a subset of schools, and reflects national achievement trajectories. 
This year’s NAEP administration is the first since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted public education across the country. NAEP results show that the percent of fourth and eighth grade students meeting grade level expectations has dropped, with significant negative impacts on students of color, English learners and students with disabilities.  

“No one should be surprised at the national decline in student achievement, but everyone should feel an ongoing sense of urgency to address it, matched with a clear and ambitious plan of action. Tennessee will continue to focus on effective implementation of its comprehensive plan which invests in research-backed interventions to help all students recover from the pandemic and accelerate their learning beyond pre-pandemic levels. Importantly, our teachers and students are already seeing improvements as a result of their hard work and focus on early literacy, tutoring, summer programming, and other academic programs that our state has launched in the past year to boost achievement,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “The challenges of the pandemic will continue to impact students for years to come, and we must continue forward with a relentless commitment to doing what is best for kids – we must double-down on what works, with an unwavering focus on high-quality implementation of strategic initiatives that meets every single student where they are and elevates and accelerates their learning.” 
Even before the declines in student achievement reported in spring 2021 and confirmed four academic months later on 2022 NAEP, Tennessee passed strong learning loss interventions in a special legislative session in January 2021 (opens link in new tab) and leveraged an historic influx of more than $4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding to return students to traditional learning environments as quickly as possible to ensure Tennessee students would have a strong springboard for recovery from the pandemic. The majority of Tennessee’s learning loss initiatives began implementation in January 2022 and are not reflected in these NAEP results. 

The 2022 NAEP results (opens link in new tab) show that Tennessee fourth and eighth grade students have continued to perform at the national average for math and reading, confirming previously established learning loss statewide, particularly for black students. 

·  Fourth grade math: 36% of tested students scored as proficient, remaining on pace with the national average and a four-point drop from 2019 

o    No significant change for male students 

o    No significant change for students with disabilities or English learners 

o    No significant change for Hispanic students 

o    Four-point drop for female students 

o    Two-point drop for white students and a 12-point drop for black students 

·  Eighth grade math: 24% of tested students scored as proficient, remaining on pace with national average and an eight-point drop from 2019 

o    No significant change for students with disabilities 

o    Six-point drop for white students, eight-point drop for Hispanic students, ten-point drop for black students  

o    Fifteen-point drop for English learners 

o    Eight-point drop for both male and female students 

·  Fourth grade reading: 30% of tested students scored as proficient, on pace with the national average and a five-point drop from 2019 

o    No significant change for students with disabilities or English learners 

o    No significant change for Hispanic students 

o    No significant change for female students 

o    Six-point drop for male students 

o    Five-point drop for white students and an 11-point drop for black students 

·  Eighth grade reading: 28% of tested students scored as proficient, remaining on pace with the national average and a four-point drop 

o    No significant change for white students, black students, or Hispanic students 

o    No significant change for students with disabilities or English learners 

o    No significant change for female students 

o    Seven-point drop for male students 

NAEP graph

A Timeline of Education Pre-, During, and Post-COVID  

2018: While state assessment data showed Tennessee students had been improving since the early 2010’s, the momentum for growth in the number of students who met or mastered grade level standards had slowed or begun to decline heading into the pandemic, with only 34% of students meeting grade level expectations in English language arts (ELA) and 33% of students meeting grade level expectations in math in 2017, and proficiency rates of 35% in ELA and 37% in math in 2019. 

2019: The 2019 NAEP release was the most recent NAEP assessment estimating how Tennessee fourth and eighth grade students were performing compared to students in other states before the pandemic— with 40% of fourth grade students scoring at or above proficiency in math and 34% scoring at or above proficiency in reading, and 33% of eighth grade students scoring at or above proficiency in math and 32% scoring at or above proficiency in reading. 

Spring 2020: As Tennessee worked to slow the decline and boost learning, COVID-19 impacts including statewide school closures in spring of 2020 and temporary school closures or student or staff absences throughout 2021-22 school year meant the pandemic affected all students, uniquely. Despite these challenges, teachers and students worked incredibly hard to blunt the learning loss, regain footing and get learning back on track.   

September 2020: Tennessee was the first state to release (opens link in new tab) learning loss projections to begin critical conversations on how to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on students. 

January 2021: Tennessee became the first state in the nation to address learning loss with the Tennessee General Assembly convening in an historic special session (opens link in new tab) to pass essential legislation targeted at moving our students forward. The Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act (opens link in new tab) established summer learning loss bridge camps for elementary students to help them recover learning loss and accelerate their achievement and the TN ALL Corps initiative, the state’s high-dosage, low-ratio tutoring program. The Tennessee Literacy Success Act (opens link in new tab) was passed and laid a policy foundation for literacy in state to focus on improving literacy opportunities and ensure every student builds strong reading skills grounded in phonics.   

Spring 2021: In alignment with the “Best for All” strategic plan, the department recognized the impending impact the global pandemic would have on kindergarten through twelfth grade education in Tennessee and proactively and strategically committed investments to prioritize meeting the needs of Tennessee students through the state’s ESSER plan (opens link in new tab), which lays out the state’s spending strategy for its portion of federal COVID-19 relief and stimulus funding to benefit kindergarten through twelfth grade education in Tennessee. 

January and February 2022: NAEP was administered to Tennessee students, with students in Memphis-Shelby County Schools taking the test in early-mid January, at the start of the window.  

January 2022: The first year of TN ALL Corps state tutoring was launched.  

June 2022: The Tennessee Department of Education released the 2021-22 TCAP state-level results, (opens link in new tab) showing that elementary students significantly improved their ELA scores and were performing at a level similar to pre-pandemic years, specifically between January 2022 benchmarks and end-of-year testing. TCAP data reflected these efforts 36% of all Tennessee students met grade level expectations for ELA — returning to pre-pandemic levels — and while only 30% met expectations in math, Tennessee students were outpacing pandemic recovery projections for math. Improved performance in math was evident for Tennessee students of all ages. Every student group showed an increase in proficiency, as demonstrated on the 2022 TCAP assessments. This assessment reflected strong participation from students across the state, with a statewide student participation rate of 98% and 59 of 147 Tennessee school districts having participation higher than 99%. This level of participation showed the state’s and districts’shared commitment to mitigating learning loss and investing in student achievement is helping students to recover and accelerate learning.  

NAEP 2024 and 2026: Students with teachers who participated in Reading 360 teacher training and science of reading supports will test on the fourth grade NAEP. These testing years will also show the benefits of multiple years of summer programming, high-dosage-low ratio tutoring, high-quality instructional materials implementation, the first year of re-imagined middle school programming, and more.   

At this phase in the work to recover from the pandemic, the department is focused on continuing its approach to work with Tennessee districts, schools, teachers, community partners and families to plan for ensuring strong supports for high-quality implementation of reading and tutoring supports and innovative school models to boost student achievement, readiness and success. 

TN COVID-19 Pandemic timeline

About the Assessment 

Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as The Nation’s Report Card, has been the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what students in public and private schools in the United States know and are able to do in various subjects. In 2022, NCES administered the NAEP mathematics and reading assessments to fourth and eighth grade students in public and private schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity schools, Puerto Rico (mathematics only), and in 26 urban districts. The assessments were administered between January and March of 2022. Results for states and districts are for public schools only. Approximately 224,400 fourth grade students from approximately 5,780 schools and 222,200 eighth grade students from approximately 5,190 schools participated in the 2022 mathematics and reading assessments. Representative samples of schools and students are drawn from each state, district, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity schools.  

“During the 2022 administration of the NAEP, Short Mountain Elementary School – eighth grade was selected with mathematics and reading tests administered by NAEP Representatives on Feb.3, 2022,”  William Freddy Curtis, Director of Cannon County Schools, said. “Local data is not shared with local education agencies (LEA’s), so we did not receive any results, however, our Short Mountain Elementary School eighth grade scores were part of all of those compiled in the overall Tennessee data.”

Learn more about NAEP from the National Center for Education Statistics. Visit to view the report.  

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact:, and for local media inquiries contact William Freddy Curtis, Director of Cannon County Schools, at (629) 201-4801, ext. 10101, or at, for local Cannon County Schools information.

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.