Academic Standards

The FSSD follows the Tennessee Academic Standards for all courses in all schools. The Tennessee Academic Standards provide a common set of expectations for what students will know and be able to do at the end of a grade for each subject area. Our state’s standards are rooted in the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in their postsecondary studies and/or careers.

The State Board of Education is charged with adopting the Tennessee Academic Standards. At a minimum, standards are reviewed every six years. While academic standards establish desired learning outcomes, the curriculum provides instructional programming designed to help students reach these outcomes. Districts locally establish curricular programs that support student mastery of the Tennessee Academic Standards while reflecting unique community values. Instructional practices provide each student with the best opportunity to meet these standards by supporting the learning needs of each student. 

Here are some key facts about the Tennessee State Standards:

  • The Tennessee State Standards are expectations for student outcomes in the core subjects of mathematics, reading/language arts, social studies, and science.
  • They are clear, consistent, understandable, and rigorous.

  • The Tennessee State Standards are not curriculum. Curriculum decisions, like which textbooks to purchase and which books students should read, will continue to be made locally.
  • The standards focus on the real-world skills and critical thinking that will prepare students for college and careers.
  • The effort to create the standards was a state-led initiative, and Tennessee has been involved from the beginning.

Why are these standards important?

  • They are internationally competitive and based on research about what it takes to be prepared for college courses and entry-level jobs that lead to careers.
  • The standards are clear and demanding. This change allows teachers time to teach and explore fewer but more focused topics in more depth than they have been able to in the past.
  • The skills students are learning and the abilities they are gaining are those needed for success in today’s workforce. Whether in manufacturing or research, job applicants need critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills to succeed.
  • The new standards are more rigorous, and students are learning important concepts in earlier grades.
  • Now, students learn important concepts in earlier grades and build on those each year.
  • Ultimately, the Tennessee State Standards should help better prepare students for success in postsecondary and the workforce.

The Tennessee State Standards require a deeper engagement with a smaller number of standards. The goals of the Tennessee State Standards are: student achievement at high levels of proficiency on national assessments and state assessments, aligned assessments at the school level, and professional learning activities that support both with the ultimate goal of graduating every child college- and career-ready. The FSSD provides its teaching staff with many professional learning opportunities and its students with remediation alternatives when gaps are discovered through local assessment. “We embrace the challenge as we strive to meet the state’s proficiency goals and to prepare our students for the best high school and college opportunities in the nation,” said Director of Schools, Dr. David Snowden.

Overview of Testing in TennesseeLearn more about the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) for students in grades 3-8, as well as other required assessments in the state.