Many people get the term curriculum confused with the term standards. Tennessee has had state learning standards for many years. They have been updated over the years by teams of teachers from all three geographical divisions of the state. The curriculum is the learning plan that your child’s teacher uses to ensure that the state standards are covered and learned by your child with materials that are grade-level appropriate to the subject.
The TNReady and TCAP tests that students take during the year assess the grade-level standards for certain courses; they do not assess the curriculum per se. Thus, throughout the year, curriculum lessons are taught using the state standards as a guide to the basic skills and knowledge requirements set forth in the state standards; then the TNReady/TCAP assesses the level of learning and the growth in learning since the previous year.
In 2014-15, Tennessee opted to develop its own standards equal in rigor and quality to the Common Core State Standards. These standards are called Tennessee Ready (TNReady) standards.
The Tennessee Department of Education Website has resources that include all information about the TNReady standards and assessments:
Tennessee Ready Assessments (TNReady) and Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) Testing
Student Testing and Advancement
Because there have been many changes regarding assessment in Tennessee, the following link is a critically important resource for families to check regarding the 2019-20 TCAP/TNReady assessments. https://www.tn.gov/education/assessment/testing-overview.html
For many years, the state assessment in Tennessee has consisted of multiple choice items for grades 3 through 11, once a year in core subjects (English Language Arts, Reading, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science). There has also been an online writing assessment in February for Grades 3-11.
While all of these subjects are still assessed, some of the tests have changed, some have not changed.
State assessments in 2019-20 will be administered during a three-week window between April 13 and May 8, 2020. The first subpart of the ELA assessment, which includes the writing prompt, will be administered during the first week of the assessment window because it is scored by hand. For high school fall block, there will also be an assessment window from December 2 through December 19, 2019.
Students in kindergarten and first grade do not take traditional, standardized state assessments.
Students in second grade may take the optional Tennessee-specific second-grade assessment. Districts that elect to give the optional test will offer it as a paper and pencil test.
Students in grades 3-8 will take assessments in mathematics, and English Language Arts (ELA).
The social studies test for these grades has been paused for the 2019-20 year. Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities (about one percent of the student population) will take the MSAA for ELA and mathematics, and the TCAP Alternative Assessment for the science field tests. There is no social studies assessment this year.
Some middle school students will take End of Course (EOC) assessments if they are enrolled in high school courses (see list below).
High school students will take End of Course (EOC) assessments if enrolled in the following courses:
- English I/II
- Algebra I/Geometry/Algebra II, or Integrated Math I/II/III
- U.S. History and Geography
More information can be found on the State Department’s Assessment link:
For grades 3-8, 2019-20 assessments will be administered using paper and pencil.
Testing Dates document:
Guidance on Writing Tasks, Grades 5-EOC
Released sample test items grades 3-EOC
TCAP stands for Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program. The test development is overseen by the Tennessee State Department of Education along with Tennessee teachers and other state curriculum experts. Every student enrolled in Tennessee schools must take the assessment. Tennessee is an English only state; all assessments are provided in English only.
The TCAP currently includes:
- Achievement Test/ELSA (English Linguistically Simplified Assessment) [grades 3-8]*
- World -Class Instructional Design Assessment (WIDA)** [Replaces ELDA]
- TNReady ELA and mathematics assessments
- ACT or SAT is required for all Juniors
Your child will begin taking the TNReady assessments in third grade and each year through eighth grade. Grades 3-5 Social Studies assessments are paused for 2019-20 and will resume at a later time. In high school, students take end-of-course assessments in U.S. History, Biology I. TNReady assessments are given in English I, English II, Integrated Math I/II/III, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II.
The results of these examinations can be factored into the student’s grade at a percentage determined by the State Board of Education in accordance with T.C.A. §49-1-302 (2). Tennessee law provides districts the option to exclude TNReady scores from a student’s final grade if the scores are not received at least five days before the school year ends.
English Learner Student Assessments/ World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA)
English Learners (ELs) are assessed annually with ACCESS 2.0, an assessment developed by WIDA. The results will help guide decisions regarding student participation in content area classrooms without program support and state academic content assessments without accommodations. This assessment will also provide districts with information to aid in evaluating the effectiveness of EL programs. English Learner (EL) Assessments are addressed at the following Department of Education link:
Tools and Resources links:
- Information about Assessments and Dates for 2019-20
- All about TNReady:
- General Information about Assessment in Tennessee:
- Is your Family Ready for TNReady?
Assessment blueprints are designed to show educators a summary of what will be assessed in each grade, including the approximate number of items that will address each standard. Blueprints also detail which standards will be assessed on TNReady. The blueprints in the following link were updated for the 2019-20 assessments: https://www.tn.gov/education/assessment/tcap-blueprints.html
Links to Samplers and Practice Tests:
TNReady/TCAP Writing Rubrics: https://www.tn.gov/education/assessment/tcap-writing-rubrics.html