TCAP Testing Begins April 26

April 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow

Students in grades 2-8 will be taking the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) Achievement Test starting Thursday, April 26th.

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. "This year, we have added an additional test. The state of Tennessee is going to be paying for second grade tests so we have decided that we are going to test our second graders so when I speak of TCAP tests for this testing school year, I'm also referring to second grade. They will be joining us in that activity for the week," said Burklow.

"TCAP achievement test is a multiple choice test that provides a measure of knowledge and application skills in core academic areas. The results of these tests will provide information about the student's progress and it will give us a starting point at the beginning of next year as to where we need to focus our attention for that student and individualize learning for that child. The TCAP test is mandated for grades 3 through 8. Again, we're going to test our second grade. We have a testing window of six days. We have four days that the state says we have to test and two for make up days. Beginning April 26, we will be testing Reading/Language Arts; April 27 is our Mathematics day; April 30 is Science; and May 1 is Social Studies so those are the four days that the state has set as the window for us. Each school has flexibility in setting the time that best suits their school schedule. So we're asking parents to please make sure your children show up to school each morning on time. If you would like them to eat breakfast in the cafeteria, get them there just a little earlier because that seems to be a really busy week for eating breakfast in the schools. Try to work out as much as you can after school activities such as dentist appointments. Make sure you're children are in school to test," said Burklow.

Under state law, local school boards are required to develop a policy by which student scores on the achievement tests comprise a certain percentage of the student's final grade for the spring semester in the subjects of Math, Reading/Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. Last Thursday night, the board established 15% as the benchmark for students in grades 3 to 8. The 25% benchmark for End of Course tests at DCHS will remain the same, according to Burklow. "Something new this year is that the State of Tennessee is requiring each LEA (local system) to set a percentage of what the TCAP will count as part of the student's test grade. Last week at the school board meeting, the board adopted to count the TCAP for grades 3 through 8, fifteen percent of their final grade. They're going to send us a test score for each individual sub-test and that will count fifteen percent of the student's final grade in grades 3 through 8. That does not change the high school. The high school, the End of Course testing is still going to be 25%. There is a difference between the two. State law set the 25% for the high school. Elementary has a little flexibility," she said.

End of Course testing at the high school will begin May 1, according to Burklow. "We are going from TCAP tests right at the elementary schools into End of Course testing at the high school. We will begin May 1. Our last day for TCAP, will be our first day for End of Course and on May 1 we will be testing Algebra I; May 2, English X; May 3, Biology; and May 4 will be a makeup day for those three tests. The next week, starting May 8 we will be testing English IX and XI; May 9 will be Algebra II and US History; and May 10 will be the makeup tests for those four tests. Once again we'll send these tests off, they will be scored. We get quick scores and these will count 25% of a student's final grade for the high school," she said.

Meanwhile proctors are still needed to assist teachers during the testing. "We are still looking for proctors. We are asking for proctors, just community volunteers that will be willing to go into a classroom and be an additional set of eyes for the classroom teacher while we are testing. This is just a security measure that the state is implementing. Every proctor has to be trained in test security and we've got that set up for different times. No matter what school you attend for the training, you can go to any school to proctor. Our last training for the TCAP for grades 3 to 8, we're training this Thursday, April 19 at 9:00 a.m. We will probably set a few more, depending on how many proctors we get trained this week. If we need to train additional folks early next week, we will be doing that. The high school is April 25 for their training," said Burklow.

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