NASHVILLE, TN — For the second year in a row, MNPS saw growth in literacy that exceeded the state’s average growth. At the August 13, 2019 school board meeting, Dr. Paul Changas, Executive Director for Research, Assessment, and Evaluation, reviewed this year’s data with the community. Most notably, MNPS saw literacy growth and numeracy growth exceeding the state’s average growth, resulting in TVAAS scores of a 4 and 5 respectively. A 5 is the highest score the state gives a school district for overall growth. Math scores increased at every grade level this school year, and MNPS’ students scoring “On Track or Mastered for English Language Arts also increased for grade spans 3-5 and 9-12. As a result of students’ performance, the district was designated in “Satisfactory” status by the state. The district also saw the number of “Reward” schools increase from 22 to 37 schools. For the third year in a row, the district also saw an increase in average ACT scores. More notably, this year, average ACT scores were above the state in ACT growth for the composite score, English, Math, Reading, and Science.
As board members sat quietly and listened to how the district has seen consistent improvement for the second year in a row, only board member Christian Buggs asked, “How often have we matched or been above the state?” Dr. Changas responded, “It’s been a while since we have been above in literacy for consecutive years like we have seen this time”. Mrs. Buggs shared, “I was just sitting over here jumping out of my skin. This seems like great data that should be tweeted about, posted about, talked about, and clapped over. We should be sending a shout out to our teachers and our students and our central office staff.”
In 2016, when Dr. Shawn Joseph arrived in Nashville, he declared literacy as a civil right and vowed to focus the district on efforts to improve literacy instruction. He tasked Dr. Monique Felder, Chief Academic Officer, to lead a collaborative effort to develop a world-class literacy plan. Dr. Felder partnered with Vanderbilt University, Lipscomb University, and other partners to develop and execute a forward-thinking plan that supported high-quality teaching and modern approaches to literacy instruction.
Dr. Felder shared, “We have some of the best minds in the country in our backyard at our universities, and our partners helped us formulate plans that expected more from our students. Once we raised the level of expectation for students, improved training on how we teach reading, and provided schools with stronger curricular materials, we started seeing better performance from our students on all standardized tests.”
According to Dr. Changas, the state will formally release results on Thursday, August 15, 2019.