Family Resources » Third Grade Retention Law

Third Grade Retention Law

In 2021, the Tennessee General Assembly updated state law to ensure all students have the support they need to read and perform on grade level.

Specifically, all school districts and public charter schools must use phonics instruction, high-quality materials, and administer an approved universal reading screener three times a year to all students in grades K-3 and provide a home literacy report. Additionally, all school districts and public charter schools now offer free reading supports and resources, summer programming, and small-group tutoring.

For some 3rd grade students in Tennessee, this updated law requires the student and their family to make some important decisions. Beginning in the 2022-23 school year, 3rd grade students who receive “approaching” or “below” on the English Language Arts (ELA) section of the TCAP assessment are able to get important learning supports from their school for free to ensure they are ready to move on to the 4th grade.


If a student’s family does not wish to take advantage of these supports, which are outlined below, the student will be retained to 3rd grade the following school year and will not be promoted to 4th grade.  However, the following students are exempt from 3rd grade retention: English learners with less than two years of ELA instruction, students previously retained in grades K-3, students with a disability that impacts reading or students with a suspected disability that impacts reading.


Your student’s school will notify you if your student is identified for retention and will provide information to you about the pathways that are available to your student to be able to move to 4th grade, including free summer camps and/or tutoring supports. 


Read More about the 3rd Grade Retention Law Here