About the Standards

Academic standards are nothing new. They are created by state officials for use in K-12 public schools to specify what students should learn in each subject for each grade. Here in question-and-answer format is an explanation of academic standards in Tennessee.

What are Tennessee’s State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics?

Tennessee’s state standards are a new, higher set of expectations for learning in math and English. Teachers are using these standards to teach students real-world skills: how to reason, how to solve problems alone and with others, and how to read literature and nonfiction more deeply and with greater comprehension. Students are no longer just memorizing the right answer; they are learning how to find the right answer and how to prove that it is correct. Tennessee’s standards set high expectations for all students so all students – no matter their background or their ZIP code – will graduate ready for the next step.

Why did Tennessee adopt new standards?

Tennessee’s old, rock-bottom standards left most students poorly prepared for college and career. Students were passing our state exams, but they were failing when compared to students in other states. According to ACT, less than 20 percent of Tennessee students have graduated high school ready to move on to freshman-level college work in math, English, reading, and science.