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Testing FAQ

Questions

1) What is TCAP?
2) When does TCAP-Achievement take place?
3) Where can I find TCAP prep resources for my students?
4) Why do I need to have my license number for the assessments?
5) What is my responsibility if I am administering or proctoring a test?
6) What is Terra Nova?
7) What is ELDA?
8) What is ELSA?
9) What is MAAS?
10) What do I need to know about accommodations for special populations?
11) How are students at the alternative school tested?
12) What is EPAS?
13) What happens if a student has to leave during the test?
14) Can my students use highlighters or write in the book?
15) Can I use a “Cool Timer” or some other kind of count-down timer so that my students will be aware of the time remaining?
16) Can I play music during the assessment? I do that every day.
19) Can teachers give scrap paper to students divided into quadrants?
20) Must I cover all the material on my walls?
21) Do I have to put my name on the TAG form? These are not my students.
22) Do I really need to put the TAG serial number on each answer document underneath it?
23) How do I claim my students for Value Added? I didn’t administer their test.
24) Will achievement test results count as a part of the grade for the year in grades 3 – 8?
25) I hear people say that we are “teaching to the test” and not teaching our students effectively. How can I respond to that concern?
26) What is a quick score, and how do quick scores relate to grades?
27) Are quick score numeric grades representative of a student’s percentile on the test?
28) What is NAEP?
Answers

1) Q What is TCAP?
A
TCAP is the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program. It is not a specific test but rather a program comprised of several different tests including Grade 2, Social Studies and US History, Science and TNReady which consists of Readling, Language Arts and Mathematics.
2) Q When does TCAP/TNReady take place?
A
All Rutherford County students in grades 2-8 or enrolled in an EOC course will take their State assessments during the Spring window (April 16-May 3, 2018).

3)  Q Where can I find TCAP prep resources for my students?

A

The State Department of Education has grade-specific Achievement practice tests and item samplers.

 

4) Q Why do I need to have my license number for the assessments?
A
The state has begun linking assessment data to teacher license numbers as a part of the Value Added process. You must be sure that your name and license number are coded on the student's answer document or Group Information Sheet exactly as they appear on your license. For more information on how to obtain your correct teacher license number please us the Contact page.

 

5)  Q What is my responsibility if I am administering or proctoring a test?

A

The security procedures are very clear for any state mandated assessment. Every person who handles any test material must be trained in these procedures and failure to follow them could result in the loss of their job/teaching license (T.C.A. 49-1-607; Code of Ethics). Simply stated, administrators and proctors are to be observant, follow all testing procedures and insure that students complete the assessment without assistance from anyone or anything. They are also responsible for providing the appropriate accommodations for each student. See more…

 

 


6) Q What is Terra Nova?
A
Terra Nova was a test that Tennessee used years ago. Now the tests that we administer in April are simply called TCAP/TNReady. There is no “Terra Nova” in Tennessee now.
 
7) Q What is ELDA?
A
ELDA stands for English Language Development Assessment and is used by ESL staff to assess proficiency in the English language. It does not affect AYP and is not a part of TCAP. As of June, 2014, ELDA has been replaced by ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners). ACCESS for ELLs is a secure large-scale English language proficiency assessment given annually to Kindergarten through 12th graders who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs).
 
8) Q What is ELSA?
A
ELSA stands for English Linguistically Simplified Assessment. ELSA is an accommodated version of the TCAP Achievement Test available during Spring TCAP Achievement testing. It is intended for English Language Learner (ELL) students. The content areas tested on TCAP ELSA are Reading/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Test questions are the same as ACH test questions but feature simplified language to reduce linguistic barriers. Allowable ELL accommodations can be given to students taking the ELSA.


9)  Q What is MAAS?

A

A modified academic achievement standard is an expectation of performance that is challenging for eligible students, but is less difficult than a grade-level academic achievement standard and more demanding than alternate academic achievement standards. The level of performance to meet the academic achievement standard modifies expectations for mastery - not grade-level standards. Academic achievement standards are modified, not the content standards. A modified academic achievement standard is aligned with the state's content standards and describes the level of achievement which has been modified from the original academic achievement standard. The assessment has three responses instead of the standard four.  See more....

As of June, 2014, MAAS will no longer be an available assessment.

 

 

10)  Q What do I need to know about accommodations for special populations?

A

There are English Language Learner Accommodations, Allowable Accommodations, as well as Special Accommodations available. Allowable accommodations are available for every student. Examples are flexible setting, flexible scheduling and visual/tactile aids. Some students who are eligible for Special Education services may have special accommodations described in their IEP. Those are unique to each student. Failure to provide these accommodations could result in scores being invalid. Be sure that you understand clearly which accommodations are scheduled for each of your students.

 

 

11)  Q How are students at the alternative school tested?

A

Students at the alternative schools are assumed to be a part of their remanding school. Daniel McKee and Smyrna West are considered to be “extensions” of the remanding school and teachers there will be “assigned” to each feeder school for claiming purposes.

 

 

12)  Q

What is EPAS?

A

ACT's EPAS® Educational Planning and Assessment System was developed in response to the need for all students to be prepared for high school and the transitions they make after graduation. The EPAS system provides a longitudinal, systematic approach to educational and career planning, assessment, instructional support, and evaluation. The system focuses on the integrated, higher-order thinking skills students develop in grades K-12 that are important for success both during and after high school. EPAS focuses on a number of key transition points that young people face; 8th/9th grade-EXPLORE: Preparing for high school studies, 10th grade-PLAN: Panning and preparing for college and the workplace, and 11th/12th grade-ACT: Being ready for life after high school.  See more on each individual component...

 


13) Q What happens if a student has to leave during the test?
A
Official time will stop if a student gets sick during testing and begins once they return. If a student is unable to return that day, they may finish upon their return provided it's within the designated testing window for the district. For those who are unable to finish during the designated testing window, a district created assessment is available for those who need a score to complete their second semester grade. Please contact the district assessment director for more information.
 
14) Q Can my students use highlighters or write in the book?
A
Yes.
 
15) Q Can I use a “Cool Timer” or some other kind of count-down timer so that my students will be aware of the time remaining?
A
No.

16)  Q Can I play music during the assessment? I do that every day.

A

No. In fact, the data on multitasking (including listening to music while working) and its effects on concentration are contrary. For example, Peter Bregman wrote in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network that multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%, increase stress and cause a 10-point fall in IQ.

 

 


17) Q Can teachers give scrap paper to students divided into quadrants?
A
Scrap Paper must be clean (nothing on it). If scrap paper has been divided into quadrants then it becomes a graphic organizer which would give one group of students an advantage over another group of students that are not provided the same item. Graphic organizers cannot be used on the Achievement Test. Students may, however, create their own graphic organizer.
 
18) Q Must I cover all the material on my walls?
A
Yes! You need to cover walls, floors (if you have a rug with instructional material printed on it), common areas such as halls and cafeterias and materials in the classroom such as globes, models or charts.
 
19) Q Do I have to put my name on the TAG form? These are not my students.
A
The Test Administration Group (TAG) form is a reporting form. The results for students included in that group will be reported together. Claiming of students occurs later. Every teacher will have the opportunity to verify that the students reported in the Value Added format were, in fact, taught by them.
 
20) Q Do I really need to put the TAG serial number on each answer document underneath it?
A
Yes. It helps in case an answer document is separated from the rest of the testing group.

21)  Q How do I claim my students for Value Added? I didn’t administer their test.

A

After the test documents are scanned, there will be an opportunity for every teacher to "claim" their students. This is an on-line process that will be completed at school. Certain students are "excluded" from claiming based on attendance or Special Education status. Every teacher will have the opportunity to see a roster of student names for which they are responsible and to confirm that those students are theirs.  See more on Value-Added...

 

 

 

22)  Q Will achievement test results count as a part of the grade for the year in grades 3 – 8?

A

Yes. They will count 20% of the second semester grade in grades 3-5 and 25% (same as high school) in grades 6-8.

 

 

23)  Q I hear people say that we are “teaching to the test” and not teaching our students effectively. How can I respond to that concern?

A

NCLB requires all states, including Tennessee, to develop assessments for state standards. Tennessee is using a criterion referenced assessment (CRT) and has defined what students should learn in each grade and content area (the curriculum standards). The Achievement test measures a student's progress toward meeting these standards. If a teacher is doing a good job of addressing the standards, they are, in theory, "teaching to the test". That would be good news in this case!

 

 

 

 


24) Q What is a quick score, and how do quick scores relate to grades?
A
Quick scores are calculated using a simple mathematical procedure. For each student on each test, the raw score number correct is converted to a numeric grade scale score. The conversion occurs using raw score performance level cuts to proficiency levels and numeric grade cuts (see below). The cut levels are specific to each subject and grade. This grade scale is based on the State Board of Education approved numeric grade scale. NOTE: It is statistically possible for two students to have the same grade score and two different proficiency levels due to rounding!

25) Q Are quick score numeric grades representative of a student’s percentile on the test?
A
No, quick score numeric grades convert a raw score performance level cut to a numeric grade without taking into account a student’s percentile on the test. The cut scores are specific to each subject and grade. The numeric grade is a reflection only of the student’s performance relative to the cut score.

26)  Q What is NAEP?

A

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation's students know and can do. It has served as a national yardstick of student achievement since 1969. Through The Nation's Report Card, NAEP informs the public about what America's students know and can do in various subject areas, and compares achievement between states, large urban districts, and various student demographic groups.  Participating schools are chosen randomly. See more...