About Tennessee's State Standards
for English Language Arts and Mathematics

Tennessee Education Standards Review for English Language Arts and Mathematics

In collaboration with the Tennessee State Board of Education, Governor Haslam has announced the Tennessee Education Standards Review as part of the state’s effort to continue its historic progress in K-12 academic achievement. You can read the press release here.

Governor Bill Haslam has created a new website, https://apps.tn.gov/tcas/ where Tennesseans can review and comment on the state’s current K-12 academic standards in English language arts (ELA) and math. The review is an opportunity for all Tennesseans to participate in the state’s effort to improve outcomes for students by providing feedback on the state’s academic standards.

Academic standards set grade-specific goals that define what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of a given grade or course. There are more than 1,100 for ELA and more than 900 for mathematics in Tennessee.

The Southern Regional Education Board, as a third party and independent resource, will collect the data from the website in the Spring and then turn that information over to be reviewed and analyzed by two committees and six advisory teams comprised of professional Tennessee educators. The advisory teams will review Tennessee’s current standards and gather input to make recommendations to the two committees, which will then propose changes to the State Board of Education. For more information on the individuals that will comprise both the advisory teams and review committees, please click here.

While this review process unfolds, the current standards will continue to be in effect.

For a fact sheet of answers to frequently asked questions, please click here.

If you have additional questions about the Tennessee Education Standards Review, please contact: tnstandards.review@tn.gov

What are the Tennessee's State Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math?

Tennessee's Standards are a set of clear standards for math and English language arts that were developed to ensure every student graduates high school prepared for college or the workforce. The standards reflect rigorous learning benchmarks set by countries whose students currently outperform American students on international assessments. To view Tennessee's  please visit the Tennessee English language arts and math standards, visit the Department of Education's Academic Standards webpages:

Why did Tennessee adopt these standards in ELA and Math?

Tennessee is committed to ensuring high school students graduate prepared for college or the workforce. In 2011, only 15 percent of Tennessee students graduate at a college-ready level.[1] Since raising the standards through the Tennessee Diploma Project in 2009, Tennessee took further steps to enhance the quality of instruction and learning for its students by adopting these state standards in English language arts and mathematics in 2010. Tennessee began implementing the new standards in the 2011-12 school year, and the standards were fully implemented in the 2013-14 school year in grades K-8 and high school. For more information see the:  Common Core History and Fact Sheet

How does the transition to these standards affect teaching in Tennessee?

Tennessee's state standards allow teachers more creativity and flexibility in their teaching while requiring a significant shift in instructional practice. These standards require new approaches to help students master more critical thinking and problem-solving skills. For more details on changes in the classroom, please see the Instructional Shifts sections in the subject-area subpages.

How do these standards affect assessment in Tennessee?

The standards transition includes the adoption of new assessments. Starting in the 2015-16 school year, the current Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) tests in math and English Language Arts (ELA) for grades 3-11 will be replaced by new assessments written to the standards in ELA and math.

In the 2014-15 school year, the current Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) tests in math and English Language Arts for grades 3-11, will continue. Additionally, students in grades 3-11 will take an online writing assessment. For more information on assessment, click here.

What was the timeline for implementing the standards in ELA and math?

The standards were phased into math and English Language Arts across all grade levels beginning in the 2011-12 school year, and were fully implemented in the 2013-14 school year.

For more details, see the math and ELA subpages and Tennessee's:
Note: these plans reflect the work completed in the 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14 school years and do not reflect the changes to the state’s assessment plans made by the state legislature in 2014.

How will the Common Core State Standards impact students with disabilities and English language learners?

Standards describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject and in each grade. Tennessee’s state English language arts and math standards provide a chance to improve access to quality content standards for students with disabilities and English Learners.Visit the Special Populations webpage for more information.


[1] ACT. (2011). 2011 ACT National and State Scores. Retrieved from: http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2011/states.html