Our goal is for all students to be ready for college, for career and for life. We give assessments in order to ensure that our students are on a path to success after graduation. Since 1988, students have taken the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) test to assess their progress. TNReady will replace the math and English language arts TCAP assessments for grades 3-11 this year.
The district and schools use end-of-course tests to measure growth, identify needs and make plans for improvement. Information from state assessments, along with other sources, is used to place students in the appropriate classes, place teachers in the classrooms in which they will be most effective, and identify needs and resources for professional development.
A standardized test is any form of test that (1) requires all test takers to answer the same questions, or a selection of questions from a common bank of questions, in the same way, and that (2) is scored in a “standard” or consistent manner, which makes it possible to compare the relative performance of individual students or groups of students.
TNReady is Tennessee’s new TCAP test for math and English/language arts in grades 3-11. The new TNReady TCAP tests are designed to assess true student understanding and not just basic memorization and test-taking skills. Starting in the 2015-16 school year, TNReady will be used to measure student understanding of our current state standards in English language arts and math.
TNReady is a new way to assess what our students know and what we can do to help them succeed in the future. TNReady offers parents, students, and teachers with an academic check-up each year to ensure all students are on track to graduate from high school and be prepared for success in postsecondary and the workplace. TNReady will provide students, teachers, and parents with more and better information about each student’s progress and achievement in the classroom.
Since 1988, TCAP has been given as a paper and pencil test. TNReady will be given entirely online – it’s the way of our world! By taking the assessment online, a number of new question types including multiple choice, drag and drop, online editing and essay/written response can be administered.
Science and social studies assessments will still be referred to as TCAP. Students will take a new TCAP social studies assessment during the 2015-16 school year. The social studies section will be based on social studies standards implemented during the 2014-15 school year. The new social studies TCAP will be taken online. Similar to TNReady, the social studies assessment will also include a writing portion that requires students to support their answers with evidence from something they have read.
The science TCAP will look very similar to the test given during the 2014-15 school year. It will be administered via paper and pencil during the 2015-16 school year.
TNReady will be given in two parts. In Part I students will read from passages and provide some written responses to support their answers. In math, students will solve multi-step problems, many without using a calculator, to show what they know.
In Part II, many questions will be multiple choice, but the computer-based format will allow for other question types as well. The variety of questions are hoped to be more engaging for students and to provide more ways for students to show what they know. Here are some examples of types of questions that may appear on the test.
- Multiple Choice: Some multiple choice questions have more than one correct answer.
- Drag-and-drop: Students may use drag-and-drop to place statements in the correct order or
- Online editing: For some English language arts questions, students will edit text directly in the document.
While TNReady will be given in two parts, the time students spend testing will be similar to last year.
- Part I will be given in February/March.
- Part II will be given in April/May.
Students will not be tested during the entire testing window.
From the start, TNReady has been designed to provide tools that will be available to all students. These tools will support students as they work through the test. In the past, testing supports were only available to students with special needs. Now, testing supports are available to all students.
Students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP), 504 plan, or those who are classified as English language learners may require additional accommodations to meaningfully and appropriately participate in the assessment. Examples of optional features and additional accommodations could include:
- Color Contrast
- Increased Font Size
- Extended Time
- Adult Transcription
- Frequent Breaks
- Paper-based Test
Please reach out to your child’s school if you believe these tools would be beneficial to your student or for more information about the accommodations that will be provided to support your child’s needs.
The best practice for TNReady is quality classroom instruction, which our teachers in the Knox County Schools strive to provide every day. TNReady has been specifically designed to align with the current Tennessee Standards. As the standards change, TNReady will adapt with them.
TNReady practice tools are now available online for students, parents and teachers to help prepare students for success on the new testing platform. TNReady practice questions are available to parents online at support.micatime.com. Here you will find practice questions for math and English language arts by grade level. These practice questions also allow you to try out the built-in features like a highlighter, notepad, and answer eliminator that will be available to all students during the actual TNReady test. Students and parents will receive access to additional practice questions on the item sampler in September.
The item sampler provides a sample of every type of question that will be included on TNReady. In September 2015, students will gain access to the item sampler, which allows them to practice with each question type. The item sampler is located on a website called MICA that can be accessed online from any computer – not just the computers at school – in order to practice at home.
Teachers will also have access to a practice test, which provides example questions for every standard that will be assessed on the test. Practice tests will be available in math and English language arts for every grade 3-11. The practice test is located on a website called MIST and will be available to teachers in September. Teachers will use the practice test in class to help your child be prepared for TNReady.
In order to prepare students for the new computer based format and rigorous test questions, you should expect your child's teacher to give students practice with computers and technology as part of classroom instruction. Encourage your student to begin using digital devices every day in low stress situations. Don’t wait until testing begins to help your student learn how to use a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.
We know that all Knox County students don’t have access to a computer or the internet at home. Therefore, we encourage parents to talk with their school principal about options for allowing your student to use a computer after school hours. Also, we recommend that you make time to visit a computer lab at the public library, community center, and/or place of worship. Visit knoxlib.org for a full list of public libraries in Knox County.
TNReady will be taken online – it is the way of our world. Students may access the test on a desktop computer, laptop or tablet with a keyboard.
While the move to a computer-based test is a big transition that will likely bring with it some challenges, the change will bring with it many benefits. The computer-based tests will draw on skills that are much more closely matched to the skills required in higher education and the workplace today. TNReady will also give students a variety of ways to show what they can do.
Under TCAP, schools faced significant logistical challenges associated with sorting, distributing and securing paper test booklets, which will mostly be eliminated with the secure online testing environment. Additionally, teachers no longer have to cover up their classroom walls. This means posters, word walls, graphic organizers, encouraging quotes, and reminders can remain visible during the test. Every child deserves to have a comfortable, distraction-free testing environment. Therefore, testing may occur in small groups, with preferential seating or seated at special furniture.
Taking tests online creates a bigger testing window from which schools can choose. Schools will have the flexibility to create their own testing schedule that best meets the needs of their population. There will be no district-wide testing dates with the exception of the paper science tests. Below is a summary of the TNReady and TCAP testing windows. Check your school’s website for specific testing dates. Please note your student will not spend the entire testing window taking tests, only the testing dates designated by the school. For more information and to view other Knox County testing schedules visit www.knoxschools.org/Page/12702.
Elementary and Middle School
- TNReady RLA and Math Part I – 2/8-3/4/2016 – window
- Social Studies TCAP Part 1 – 2/8-3/4/2016 – window
- TNReady RLA and Math Part II – 4/18-5/13/2016 – window
- Social Studies TCAP Part II – 4/18-5/13/2016 – window
- Science TCAP (paper) – 5/4/2016 (makeup 5/5/2016)
- Fall Block
- TNReady Part I – 11/2-20/2015 – window
- Social Studies TCAP Part I – 11/2-20/2015 – window
- TNReady Part II – 11/30-12/18/2015 – window
- Social Studies TCAP Part II – 11/30-12/18/2015 – window
- Biology & Chemistry EOC – 12/9/2015 (makeup 12/10/2015)
- Spring Block
- Social Studies TCAP Part I – 2/8-3/4/2016 – window
- TNReady Part I – 4/11-29/2016 – window
- Social Studies Part II – 4/18-5/13/2016 – window
- TNReady Part II – 4/25-5/13/2016 – window
- Biology & Chemistry EOC – 5/4/2016 (makeup 5/5/2016)
- Year Long
- TNReady Part I – 2/8-3/4/2016 – window
- Social Studies TCAP Part I – 2/8-3/4/2016 – window
- TNReady Part II – 4/18-5/13/2016 – window
- Social Studies Part II – 4/18-5/13/2016 – window
Biology & Chemistry EOC – 5/4/2016 (makeup 5/5/2016)
The total testing time during the 2015-16 school year will be similar to the total testing time last year. The TNReady test in math and English language arts will be given in two parts that are approximately 12 weeks apart. Students will take the first part in February/March and the second part in April/May. The graph below shows an overview of how much time your student spends taking state required tests in comparison to the total time they are in school. The charts on the following pages show how much time your student spent testing in each grade on the 2014-15 TCAP and how much time your student will spend taking TNReady in the 2015-16 school year.
Parents deserve detailed information about what their students know and where they struggle so they can make informed decisions for their family. Parent reports will be redesigned to provide more and better information about student performance on TNReady and the science and social studies TCAP.
The report design will involve feedback from teachers and families to ensure we are providing useful, clear information on how students are meeting expectations for college and career readiness. Redesigned parent reports will focus on three key things:
- Prioritize the most important information and prevent information overload
- Support families and educators with interpreting and acting on information
- Offer more context on student performance, including clear, actionable guidance
Because this is the first year of a new assessment, student reports will be distributed a little later in the school year than in previous years. Parents will receive detailed information about their student’s 2015-16 academic performance in fall 2016.
As students and teachers rise to new expectations with more rigorous standards, it is possible to experience a decline when compared to current TCAP assessments. Knox County students and teachers have proven that they can respond quickly to higher expectations and new assessments. We expect first year results from TNReady to set a new baseline to measure progress in the years to come.
The Tennessee Department of Education contracted with an educational company, Measurement Incorporated, to develop the new TNReady test. Measurement Incorporated recruits and trains educators to write and review possible test items based on Tennessee specific guidelines. TNReady is aligned to current curriculum standards. Assessment blueprints are available 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 Part I of TNReady and which ones will be assessed on Part II. This will help educators as they plan for the upcoming school year. - See blueprints at: http://www.tn.gov/education/article/tnready-blueprints#sthash.J04cKWw9.dpuf
Tennessee requires student participation in state assessments by virtue of both state and federal laws, which mandate such for accountability purposes. These statutes specifically reference the expectation that all students enrolled in public schools in Tennessee will complete annual assessments as part of the state’s academic standards that define what knowledge and skills students should acquire across various grades and subjects. Except for situations where the Tennessee General Assembly has specifically provided the right to opt out in the law, such as the family life curriculum, parents and/or students may not opt out of state mandated content or instructional programs, including assessments. Similarly, there is no provision in federal law authorizing parents and/or students to opt out of mandated assessments. Therefore, local school districts are not authorized to adopt policies allowing opt out practices. For more information visit http://knoxschools.org/Page/4351.
Your student’s teacher is always the best resource for questions about TNReady.
The following websites are recommended for preparing for and staying up-to-date about TNReady assessments:
Website with TNReady practice questions:
Tennessee Department of Education's webpage focused on TNReady information and resources:
Tennessee Department of Education's website section with details about academic standards for all subjects and grade levels:
Tennessee Department of Education's blog site, which features teacher perspectives and inspiring stories:
Tennessee Department of Education's Twitter account:
Email TNReady questions to TNReady.Questions@tn.gov.
Knox County Schools Department of Research, Evaluation and Assessment