Teachers and Students Preparing for TCAP Tests

April 6, 2011
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow

Students in grades 3-8 will be taking the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) Achievement Test starting Thursday, April 14th.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade said TCAP testing is conducted 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 later in the year. "The TCAP achievements tests use multiple choice questions that provides a measure of knowledge and applications skills in core academic areas. The results of these tests will provide information about the students progress," said Burklow.

"The TCAP achievement tests are mandated for grades 3 through 8. We have a testing window that begins April 14th and ends April 21st and during this time we will test in the four academic areas. On April 14th, our students will be taking the reading/language arts portion of the test. On Friday, April 15th, our students will be taking the math portion. On Monday, April 18th, students will be taking their science tests. On Tuesday, April 19th, students will be participating in the social studies test. Each day the tests will be given in two parts and each school will begin testing at 8:15 a.m. so its very important that students arrive to school by that time in order to begin their tests in the schools. Each school will have a variance in the schedule for the day because of different schedules throughout the school. Students will be testing in the morning as well as afternoon to accommodate small groups and various strategies that are used throughout the school in order to give the students the best opportunity to succeed on these tests," said Burklow.

Burklow urges parents to help their children prepare for the tests. "Teachers are working with all the students on testing strategies, but parents we need your help in order to encourage students to apply these strategies. Encourage your child to read and pay careful attention to all directions and to read all information and questions. Every bit of information is pertinent to that test. (Students) should read every possible answer. Even though that first or second choice sounds really good, it could actually be that the last choice is the very best answer. Try to get the answer by reasoning and eliminating wrong answers. After completion of the tests, use any remaining time to check your answers. The test has a minimum of 65 to 70 minutes. Most of our students will finish prior to that so (students) should utilize that additional time to go back over and check your answers. Do not rush through the tests. You will have ample time to finish the tests so take your time to focus on the questions and all the answer choices," said Burklow.

"Parents there's a few more things you can help us do that will make a big difference with your student during TCAP week. Help your child learn how to find information independently. Encourage your child to ask questions at home and in class. Gather available test preparation materials. Your child's teacher is now reviewing for the tests. Papers will be coming home so that you can review with your child at home. See that your child is rested and eats breakfast. Please have your child at school on time. Testing will begin at 8:15 a.m. Your child arriving to school on time will help him or her be relaxed for the tests. Please try to have your child at school during the testing window. Part of No Child Left Behind is that we do test 95% of our students. Some schools will have afternoon test sessions to test students who may have been absent or to accommodate students that test better in small groups. Its very important that your child stays at school all day. If you have appointments scheduled for the afternoon, please try to rearrange those so that those children are at school," said Burklow.

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