3rd Grade Retention and Promotion in Tennessee and the Possibility of Prison

Jan 27, 2023 at 10:58 pm by WGNS News

(Rutherford County, TN) A lot of talk has been focused on 3rd graders passing or failing in Tennessee and one reason why, may surprise you… That was State Representative Robert Stevens of Rutherford County. One of many studies used to better predict the number of future incarcerations in a state focuses on reading skills.

Research shows that a student who is not reading on his or her grade level by the third grade is less likely to graduate high school on-time. When you add that information to other studies, lawmakers are able to get a clearer picture on how many children will drop-out of high school before or during their senior year. Researchers can then turn their attention to the current prison system to find out how many inmates failed to graduate high school, eventually tying all of the study results together to determine approximately how many inmates will be in the prison system in future years.


Representative Stevens confirmed the state has a law requiring students to pass the 3rd grade… The Tennessee General Assembly passed two key pieces of legislation during the 1st half of 2021 — the Tennessee Literacy Success Act and the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act — to help ensure Tennessee students could recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and close gaps in students’ learning.

As part of this legislation, the General Assembly revised the state’s law regarding the promotion of students from third grade, T.C.A. § 49-6-3115. The statute was also revised during the regular 2021 legislative session. T.C.A. § 49-6-3115, which applies to the 2022-23 school year, ensures students who are determined to need additional supports in reading, receive them before being promoted to fourth grade.

To learn more about 3rd grade retention in Tennessee and the Tennessee Literacy Success Act – CLICK HERE.

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