Tennessee Schools Recognized for Fastest Gains Among the States – But Why?

November 2013, the US Department of Education released the latest results from its National Assessment of Education Progress (i.e. “The Nation’s Report Card”) and revealed that Tennessee was the only state to post improvements in both math and reading at both fourth and eighth grades, adding a total of 22 points across the four assessments to their scores. This was, in fact, the largest gain among the states in the assessment’s history.

The revisions of education law and policy articulated in Tennessee’s Race to the Top proposal were instrumental in Tennessee’s success but would likely have never come about without the existence of TVAAS–the nation’s longest-standing value-added assessment system. Public and policymaker awareness of the differences in school performance made evident by TVAAS came to public attention as schools were ranked and the top performers honored by the Education Consumers Foundation beginning in 2005.

According to the Education Consumers Foundation, these results were entirely expected based on reforms that took place in the state in 2010. In fact, ECF did publicly predict them in writings published at that time, including the following: