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Tennessee third graders who fail TNReady reading test could be held back starting this school year

One test and one session of summer school - the deciding factor between what grade students will be in next year.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A single test and summer school could mean the difference in a full year of schooling.

This month the renewed third-grade retention law goes into effect in Tennessee.

The law, passed back in 2021, will allow schools to hold back third graders who don't pass the TNReady reading test.

With nearly two-thirds of third graders failing the test statewide, there's more pressure on parents and educators to prepare students for the next TNReady test this spring.

That's even more pressing for Memphis Shelby County Schools, where nearly 80% of third graders flunked the test.

According to the legislation, students who don't pass the spring test will be able to attend summer camp. If they demonstrate reading growth, they can prevent being held back.

Summer camps are offered by the school district in multiple areas and across many schools in the district.

In a former interview with MSCS teacher Tarsha Hudson, she said the district has so many things put in place to counter learning loss.

"Memphis Shelby County Schools has so many things put in place with the tutoring, before and after care programs, the summer learning academy, the enrichment programs, the creative and performing arts, the interventions," Hudson said. "All of these things are being put in place so it takes time."

We reached out to the district about what scores will be considered failing and what summer reading improvements need to be made by students who do fail, but the district did not provide the answers.

Hudson said this issue has been on the rise for a while.

"The learning loss didn't happen overnight, so catching up and getting on track is not going to happen overnight either," Hudson said. "We have to be patient and know that teachers are coming in and doing everything that they can to make sure that we get children back on track."

We'll keep you updated with more on what this means for your kids as we have more information.

Anyone interested can read the full Tennessee code on the retention law HERE.

Read the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act HERE.

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