The number of students in Tennessee who are meeting academic standards rose for the third year in a row, although at a slightly slower rate, according to the new state-wide data released by the Tennessee Department of Education today. Students who took the state’s Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) tests showed small improvements on most tests, which continued the state’s upward trajectory of the past few years.

Some of the biggest gains highlighted were in math, where 19 percent more students scored proficient in Algebra II than in 2011 when the test was first administered. More students in grades 3 to 8 scored proficient than last year, but the pace of that growth has slowed.  Around 100,000 more students across all grade levels are proficient in math in Tennessee than in 2010.

The English results were not as positive. Although around four percent more high school students scored proficient, the reading scores in grades 3-8 actually fell slightly this year.

In science, the number of students in grades 3-8 who scored proficient increased slightly but at a slower rate than the past few years. High school biology students showed the same slightly-slower increase in the number of students meeting standards.

The data also showed some narrowing in the achievement gap in both math and reading between minority and white students, according to department of education analysis.

The data released today combined with the state’s strong growth in the NAEP test, provides strong evidence that the small gains in the past few years are true reflections that more students in Tennessee are meeting basic standards.