Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


State Documentation on TCAP Scores

The following documents were provided by the State Department of Education in response to many questions about the change in quick scores and cut scores in 2015.

A Guide to Understanding Quick Scores

2015 Raw Score Cuts to Quick Scores

2014-15 Quick Scores, Raw Scores and Cut Scores

TCAP Scoring Flow Chart

Cube Root Quick Score Calculation

TCAP Quick Score Conversion Guide

TEA still has many questions concerning how the scale scores were reached and proficiency levels were determined. We will continue our efforts to get answers on these issues.

What we do know is that the methodology for how the state generates quick scores for students in grades 3-8 (the scores used in final report cards for students) was changed to the cubed-root method that the state has been using for high school EOCs. 

Here are a few answers we have received thus far from the state:

1.      Quick Score/Proficiency level correlation:

We have not changed the mark or expectation for student proficiency on TCAP; there have been no changes to cut scores for proficiency levels. I’d also like to clarify that quick scores are no longer tied to TCAP performance levels. For example, a quick score of 85 is not equivalent to the cut score for proficient. We compare student performance each year based on the scale scores.  The scale scores determine the cut points for performance levels (i.e. below basic, basic, proficient, advanced). We always produce equating tables in the fall that clearly define the raw score equivalent cut points based on the scale score. This is designed to help teachers know what to expect early in the school year. The equating tables for 3-8 achievement can be found here.  The equating tables for EOC can be found here.

Student performance expectations for the proficiency threshold have not changed.  They are exactly the same as last year, and these expectations are exactly the same as the equating tables which we published online in the fall for teachers to access. Quick scores do not determine proficiency levels. I have attached a FAQ – A Guide to Understanding Quick Scores – that we created to help explain the purpose for quick scores.  In addition, please see the attached TCAP Scoring Flow Chart that shows how and where quick scores fall into the scoring process.  It is clear from the flow chart that quick scores have no relationship to performance levels.  Quick scores are used only to calculate a 100-point grading scale. There are various methodologies that can be used to create a 100-point grading scale from the raw score, and, this year, we used the cube root method for grades 3-8, as we have done for EOCs over the past several years.

2.      Quick Score Calculation: What was the rationale for making this change to the cube root method? Is it possible to see the formula used for this calculation?

The rationale for making the change was to create a consistent methodology for generating quick scores and one that was not dependent upon TCAP performance levels like the interval scaling method used in 3-8 achievement since 2012. We updated the methodology to be consistent with what we are doing for End of Course exams.  We will be engaging directors of schools in more conversations about quick scores for 2015-16.

I have attached (linked above) a memo from April 2012, TCAP Quick Score Conversion Guidance, which includes the interval scaling methodology for generating quick scores in grades 3-8.  I have also attached the Cube Root Quick Score Calculation guidance that details the cube root method used this year for all grades.

3.      Proficiency Levels:What are the proficiency level ranges for Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced for the various assessments? How do these ranges compare to previous years?

The equating tables for 3-8 achievement and EOCs are posted online, and they show the scale score ranges for each performance level.  These scale score ranges are the same for 2015 as they were in 2014.


More updates to come on this important topic. Follow TEA on Facebook and Twitter for updates. 

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