Important Writing Assessment Information for Tennessee Teachers

  • The test will be administered online to all students on the MIST platform except for students that require Braille test forms
  • There will be a total of six unique test forms. Test forms will be written for the following grades/bands:
    • Grade 3
    • Grades 4-5
    •  Grades 6-7
    • Grades 8
    • Grades 9-10
    • Grade 11
  • All students in Grades 3-11 will read two written texts, otherwise known as stimulus passages. No multimedia texts will be included.
  • Like last year, written texts will include social studies or science topics in order to demonstrate the possible range of informational reading. Text prompts will not require background information. Scoring will not privilege prior knowledge about the topic.
  • Texts will be chosen for a variety of factors, including quality, style, and subject matter, and will be reviewed by teachers for sensitivity. All texts will be authentic passages from previously published sources or well-known authors.
  • All texts will be appropriately complex for the given grade/band as determined by the staircase of complexity in Tennessee’s English Language Arts/Literacy standards (in the case of a grade band such as 4-5, texts will be aligned to the middle of the complexity range between the two grades).
  • Students in Grades 3-5 will read two texts and write one essay:
    • One prose constructed response essay about both texts. The essay will be either informational/explanatory or opinion.
  • Students in Grades 6-11 will read two texts and write two essays:
    • The first prose constructed response essay will be about the first text and will be informational/explanatory.
    • The second prose constructed response essay will be an argument about both texts.
  • Total time will equal a maximum of 2 hours in grades 3-5 and 2.5 hours in grades 6-11. 
  • The time on task allowed for this assessment will be 1.5 hours for grades 3-5 and 2 hours for grades 6-11. Teachers will be allowed to institute a 30 minute break at their discretion.
  • The following tools will be provided to all students:
    • Pencil (provided by proctor)
    • Blank scratch paper (provided by proctor)
    • Highlighter (MIST)
    • Notepad: provides a space for students to type notes while reading passages (MIST)
    • Flag items for review (MIST)
    • Zoom in/out (MIST)
    • Writing process tools including bold, underline, copy, cut, and paste (MIST) – Note: students may copy, cut and paste within their written response, but not from the reading passage
    • Spell check
  • The rubrics used to score the 2015 test will remain the same as the 2014 TCAP Writing Assessment.
  • New practice prompts that mimic the design of the 2015 Writing Assessment will also be released for all grades, 3-11 in PDF format and also available online through the MIST literacy portal for online practice.
  • Practice prompts from the 2013-14 school year will continue to be available in PDF format on and on the MIST literacy portal for online practice. Scoring materials for these prompts are also included on

Please let me know if you have any questions about the writing assessment.


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