Students in grades 3-8 take the Tennessee Comprehensive
Assessment Program (TCAP) Achievement Test each spring. The
Achievement Test is a timed, multiple choice assessment that
measures skills in Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science
and Social Studies. Student results are reported to parents,
teachers and administrators.
The TCAP Competency Test is a multiple-choice test designed
to measure student achievement in certain mathematics and
language arts skills. The test consists of a mathematics sub-test
and a language arts sub-test that includes sections on spelling,
language and reading.
As of the fall semester of the 2001-2002 school year, all
students entering the ninth grade must pass each sub-test
before they can graduate with a regular diploma. Additional
testing opportunities are available in the spring and summer
for those needing to retake one or both subtests.
In order to graduate with a regular diploma, students entering
high school for the first time in or after the fall semester
of the 2001-2002 school year will be required to pass the Gateway
in Mathematics, Science, and Language Arts. The
last scheduled administration of the Competency Test will
be in the summer of 2004. Subsequent to that date, students
who have not successfully passed the TCAP/CT will be required
to pass the Gateway
for a regular diploma.
The Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) Writing
Assessment requires students to write a rough draft essay
in response to an assigned prompt (topic) within a limited
time period. Fifth-grade students are asked to write a narrative
essay (a story), eighth-grade students an expository essay
(an explanation), and eleventh-grade students a persuasive
essay (an argument). The writing samples are scored holistically.
End of Course Examinations (High School)
On October 29, 1998, in compliance with TCA 49-1-608 and TCA
49-6-6001(a)(1), the State Board of Education designated ten
high school courses as the basis for End-of-Course examinations.
The Select Oversight Committee on Education of the Tennessee
General Assembly subsequently affirmed the State Board’s
To raise the academic bar for all high school students and
add accountability for students’ academic performance,
Tennessee has adopted a new testing program for End-of-Course
Tests in key subjects. Beginning with freshmen entering high
school in 2001-02, students must pass the Mathematics, Science,
and Language Arts tests to earn a high school diploma. These
three tests are referred to as Gateway
The revised End-of-Course Assessment Program will include
Algebra I (also taken by Math for Technology II students),
Algebra II, Geometry, Math Foundations II, Biology I (also
taken by Biology for Technology I students), Physical Science,
Chemistry, English I, English II and US History. All ten of
the End-of-Course Assessments will count as part of the course
grade for any student enrolled in the related course. Development
of the Algebra II, Geometry, Physical Science, Chemistry,
and US History tests is currently on hold.
Mathematics, Science and Language Arts, the three Gateway
tests, are also end-of-course tests and fall under this guideline.
These tests are given at the end of the following courses:
Algebra I and Math for Technology II, Biology I and Biology
for Technology II, and English II.
Merit’s language arts and math software programs correlate
to the Tennessee Curriculum Standards and can help students
prepare for the TCAP tests. The content and format of Merit’s
programs can help students develop and strengthen their test-taking
skills as well as their reading, writing and math skills.
Merit reading software has been proven -- through rigorous,
scientifically based research -- to increase both student
reading comprehension and standardized test scores. Merit
research study findings reveal that education software is
an effective tool to improve test scores and academic performance.
Published: May 2005