Student Achievement: Assessment
Elementary, Middle School, and High School
TCAPS' assessment framework is designed to support student learning with tools and strategies that follow guidelines set by the Michigan Department of Education and Traverse City Area Public Schools. TCAPS' assessment measures include multiple indicators of student skill levels based on grade level and curriculum scope and sequence. Assessment is conducted district-wide in the following content areas and grades:
District Literacy Assessments:
- Running Records
Running Records assessments are administered to all kindergarten students through 4th grade. Students not meeting the district standard will continue performing Running Records assessment. Running records provide an assessment of text reading and are designed to be taken as a child reads orally from any text. The assessor is able to find an accuracy rate (number of words read correctly) as well as a comprehension score and a fluency rate as measured in “words correct per minute.” A deeper analysis of a Running Record also informs the assessor as to the strategies a reader is and is not using when interacting with text. This analysis provides valuable information for matching the reader to appropriate text.
- Degrees of Reading Power (DRP)
DRP are administered beginning in 5th grade, once a student has met or exceeded the Running Record standard. This standardized test that equates with national norms is given to all students 5th through 7th grade using forms with a progression of difficulty. Students take this test independently and answer numerous multiple-choice questions. The standard form of DRP assesses the ability to comprehend the surface meaning of increasingly more difficult textual material, while the advanced form assesses the ability to reason with - that is, analyze, evaluate, and extend the ideas that are presented with increasingly more difficult textual material. DRP assessments provide valuable information for matching the reader to appropriate text.
- Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI)
Scholastic Reading Inventory is a way to assess student reading levels and monitor reading progress. SRI identifies struggling readers in grades 4th - 12th. The SRI assists teachers in planning for instruction, and gauges the effectiveness of TCAPS' curriculum. Currently all students are administered the SRI assessment in the spring of 6th grade, prior to 7th grade enrollment. Identified students are enrolled in the READ 180 program the following fall and continue in the program until grade level reading scores are attained. In addition, all secondary schools and most of TCAPS' elementary schools have READ 180 programs available to any student struggling with reading.
- CAAP (Curriculum Alignment and Assessment Process)
The CAAP committees have aligned TCAPS' curriculum with the state curriculum by grade level. District level assessments have been developed for content standards at each grade level in order to gauge student achievement of the curriculum. All students, kindergarten through twelfth grade, are administered CAAP assessments in each subject area district-wide.
- MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) Grades 3 - 8
The MEAP tests were developed to measure what Michigan educators believe all students should know and be able to achieve in five content areas: mathematics, reading, science, social studies, and writing. MEAP is administered to 3rd - 8th grade students in October. The test results paint a picture of how well Michigan students and Michigan schools are doing when compared to standards established by the State Board of Education. The MEAP test is the only common measure given statewide to all students. It serves as a measure of accountability for Michigan schools.
Results of MEAP tests can be used by schools for school improvement purposes. The results indicate overall strengths and weaknesses of a school district's curriculum, and can be used to modify instructional practice. Results have been used for the Michigan Accreditation Program, and will continue to be used as one piece of this program as it evolves into an accountability model.
- Michigan Merit Exam (MME)
The Michigan Department of Education will administer the MME to all students in grade 11 each spring. The MME is based on the ACT college entrance exam, WorkKeys (an ACT work skills assessment), plus several Michigan components developed to assess Michigan curriculum that is not assessed by the ACT college entrance exam or WorkKeys assessments. The State pays for this testing. These assessments will be used to comply with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law on state assessments and to provide parents with information about the quality of education in Michigan schools. The MME assesses math, science, social studies, reading, and writing. Most students' ACT scores will count in Michigan for college applications. (TCAPS results)
A number of assessment accommodations will be provided for students with disabilities and English Language Learners. Students can anticipate that most of the accommodations will result in college-reportable scores. Please contact your child's counselor for details.
The MME is a rigorous set of tests. It is important for all of us to prepare our students for success on the MME. (MME Information and FAQs)
- Michigan Merit Exam (MME Re-test)
Students who do not pass the first MME will be required to participate one more time. One re-test will be paid for by the State.
- Michigan's Alternative Assessment Program (MI-Access)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that all students with disabilities be assessed at the state level. In response to this legislation, the Michigan State Board of Education approved the Michigan Educational Assessment System (MEAS). It has three components, Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) or Michigan Merit Exam (MME), MI-Access, and English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA). MI-Access is designed for students for whom the IEP Team has determined that the MEAP or MME assessments, even with assessment accommodations, are not appropriate.
The EXPLORE program is designed to help 8th grade students explore a broad range of options for their future. EXPLORE prepares students not only for their high schools coursework, but for their post high school choices. It marks an important beginning for a student's future academic and career success. EXPLORE is administered in the sprint to all 8th grade students.
PLAN is an interest and achievement test. The results help students make post-secondary education and/or career plans. It also provides practice for the ACT test. The PLAN test is required of all 10th grade students and is administered in the fall.
The ACT is a college admissions test accepted by all colleges in Michigan and most colleges across the country. While two testing attempts are provided through the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) taken by all juniors, students may take the ACT additional times at their own expense. Registration materials are available in each high school's Counseling Office.
PSAT provides practice for the SAT. The results are used to determine National Merit recognition and the test is given in mid-October. This test is normed for 11th grade students. Students electing to participate will take this test in med-October.
- SAT I
This is a college admissions test accepted by many colleges in Michigan and across the country. Highly selective colleges require the SAT I and II. May or June of the 11th grade year, or November of the 12th grade year, are most appropriate for testing. Registration materials are available in each high school's Counseling Office for this optional assessment.
- SAT II
The SAT II assessments are hour-long tests in certain subject areas. Highly selective colleges require or recommend the SAT II. Since both SAT I and SAT II cannot be taken on the same test date, careful planning is needed to accommodate both tests in a timely fashion.
- Advanced Placement Examinations
Tests are given at the end of the Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The high school offers AP classes in a variety of subjects. A sufficient score may earn college credit. Students may take AP tests in subjects other than those offered by the AP classes; however, the tests are very challenging. Test sign-up occurs through the high school Counseling Office. The testing takes place during a two-week period in May. All AP students are strongly encouraged to take the AP exam(s). An examination fee, per test, is due prior to testing. Scholarships for the exam(s) are available through each high school's Counseling Office.
- Compass Test (Formerly ASSET)
Tests in reading, writing, and math are given at Northwestern Michigan College for those students who wish to dual enroll. Passing these tests is necessary for dual enrollment. Tests are taken prior to dual enrollment. All registration information in available in each high school's Counseling Office.
- English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA)
The implementation of the ELPA is federally mandated as part of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. It is an assessment to assist schools in determining proficiency of English Language Learners (ELLs). For qualifying students this assessment can be used in place of MEAP English Language Arts. These students take the MEAP mathematics and science or social studies assessments with the appropriate accommodations.