TCAPs. What good are they?



How State Testing Affects Students - Learning Liftoff

All around Tennessee state testing (TNready/TCAP) has been commencing, despite the current circumstances. I personally just finished my reading TCAPs. As many of you know, TCAPs are a set of tests mandated by the state on the four main subjects that have little to no use for the student, so what are they good for?

Tennessee’s state website claims TCAPs are, “…designed to assess true student understanding, not just basic memorization and test-taking skills. It is a way to assess what our students know and what we can do to help them succeed in the future.”

When it’s put that way it seems like a neutral, if not beneficial, test, but is that what the tests actually accomplish. Along with other complaints, some major complaints are as follows: stress caused by the test, waste of time and money, it rewards good test-takers, and that they make the teachers teach to the test rather than just teaching. Personally, all of these thoughts have gone through my mind.

Those are all very real issues with the test. The tests are portrayed as this big thing, even though they don’t do anything for your grade, but students still stress a lot over them because the last thing they want is a bad grade. The tests also often takes up hours of school time across multiple weeks. They not only waste time, but also money, on average the state spends around $20 million dollars to administer the tests. For reference that could buy a Bugatti, a private jet, multiple nice houses, a yacht, and still have over a million left. With that money, they could also pay every teacher in Tennessee around $300. Another common complaint is that it impacts how teachers have to teach, since they are judged on the scores, by making the teachers teach to the test.
In conclusion, TCAPs are not an effective or necessary tool in the state education system.