Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program
About Tennessee’s K-12 Standardized Tests
Are your kids preparing for the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, known TCAP? TCAP tests measure the progress of students from kindergarten to 8th grade, as well as high school. Tennessee TCAP test results provide actionable data that will help parents, teachers, and students improve academic performance in reading/language arts, math, writing, science, and social studies. TCAP Achievement Tests are also used in evaluating each school’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Time4Learning and Time4Writing—two online services that teach many of the TCAP test skills—provide this page to support your research on the best ways to help your kids with TCAP practice and test prep.
TCAP Achievement Tests at a Glance
Tennessee public school students take the following TCAP tests:
TCAP Tests: Kindergarten – 8th Grade
TCAP tests are aligned to Tennessee State Standards, also known as curriculum standards, which define what students should learn each year. The annual TCAP testing is administered as follows:
Mandated TCAP tests are given to all students in third grade through eighth grade:
3rd grade – 8th grade: TCAP tests in reading, language arts, math, science, and social studies
TCAP testing is not mandated for kindergarten, first, or second grade, but school districts may elect to test:
- Kindergarten TCAP tests: Reading, language arts, and math
- 1st Grade TCAP tests: Reading, language arts, math, science, social studies, word analysis, vocabulary, and math computation
- 2nd Grade TCAP tests: Reading, language arts, math, science, social studies, word analysis, vocabulary, language mechanics, math computation, and spelling
In addition, The Tennessee Writing Assessment is given every year to students in 5th, 8th, and 11th grades.
High School: Secondary TCAP Assessments
The Secondary TCAP Assessments, also known as Gateway/End of Course Assessments, are administered to all high school students upon the completion of the Gateway courses (algebra I, English II, and biology) and other subjects. Students must score at the proficient level on the three Gateway tests to receive a diploma. Students who fail have multiple chances to retake the test(s).
How Tennessee TCAP Tests Are Scored
The TCAP and Gateway/EOC tests are standards-based, criterion-referenced tests. Students are measured by how well they have mastered grade-specific skills, instead of being compared to the performance of other test takers. The Tennessee TCAP tests report students’ performance in each subject, using the following three levels:
3. Below Proficient
The TCAP test scores for kindergarten through 2nd grade are norm-referenced, meaning students’ achievement is compared to the performance of their peers from across the nation.
The Tennessee Writing Assessment is scored holistically. Holistic scoring takes into consideration the overall effectiveness of the writing, not just grammar and mechanics. Trained readers evaluate each student’s writing test using a six-point scale and anchor papers for each grade.
Other Tennessee Standardized Tests
Tennessee uses a balanced range of assessments to promote learning for all students. The TCAP-MAAS (TCAP-Modified Academic Achievement Standards) is designed to measure the progress of students with severe cognitive disabilities who require special accommodations. Students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) take the English Language Development Assessment (ELDA), which measures their progress in English language acquisition.
NAEP in Tennessee
Tennessee also participates annually in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation’s Report Card, where a sampling of students (from grades 4, 8, and/or 12) are tested in several content areas as part of a nationally representative assessment of student performance.
A good resource is the Tennessee Department of Education’s assessment webpage.
Preparing for the Tennessee TCAP
For general tips on test preparation, please visit our standardized test overview page.
The real preparation for the Tennessee TCAP tests, or any standardized test, begins with your commitment to your children’s education throughout their school years. Devote time and effort to helping your children learn. Start by making sure your kids do their homework and read every day. Many families also employ tutors or an online learning program, such as Time4Learning, to build fundamental skills.
When preparing for standardized tests, students often benefit from test prep programs and books, which offer guidance and practice with test formats, time restrictions, test-taking strategies (when to guess, when not to), and different types of questions. For instance, when a reading passage is followed by comprehension questions, many test prep programs teach students to scan the questions first in order to know what areas of the passage require close reading. Time4Learning is not a test prep program, it is a program that builds the skills that will be tested.
Time4Learning is a new approach that takes advantage of today’s technology. It’s a convenient, online home education program that combines learning with fun educational teaching games.
The online language arts and math curriculum comprise a comprehensive program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Science and social studies programs are provided as a free bonus for most grades.
Time4Writing provides highly effective, 8-week writing courses online that help elementary, middle and high school students build writing skills through one-on-one interaction with a certified teacher.
Kids like using the computer to learn and to develop their skills. Time4Learning’s educational teaching games give students independence as they progress at their own pace.
Parents like that it tracks progress and helps kids advance by teaching through individualized learning paths that assure mastery of the skills and concepts that makes kids succeed.
Have a child with math and language arts skills at different grade levels? No problem, just tell us in the online registration process.
Time4Learning is proven effective, has a low monthly price, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can be sure that it works for your family, risk free!