TCAP/Alternate (TCAP/Alt) Assessment for Social Studies and Science

TCAP-Alternate Assessment Blueprints 2016-17

Alternate Assessment Administration Overview for TCAP/Alt (Science and Social Studies) and 2nd grade Alt Webinar

The TCAP Alternate Assessments for social studies and science are aligned to the Tennessee State Standards for instruction through the Alternate Assessment Targets and Underlying Concepts. The Alternate Assessment Targets were developed by a group of Tennessee educators to guide development of assessment items aligned to standards and accessible to students on the alternate assessment.  The process mirrored the process and principles used in developing CCCs.  Alternate Assessment Targets break down state standards into smaller, more manageable skills and concepts for students.  The Underlying Concepts were developed from the Alternate Assessment Targets for students who are most significantly impacted and/or just beginning to emerge in understanding or communication. The TCAP/Alt is designed to allow many of the supports, accommodations, and modifications. For more information on TCAP/Alt, please click on the TCAP/Alt tab.

TCAP/Alt Assessment Details

The TCAP/Alt summative assessment in social studies and science is required for students who qualify for the alternate assessment in grades 3–8, and biology is required for students in 10th grade. The assessment is in a paper-and-pencil format with the teacher reading the items to the students and indicating the students answer choice on a scanable form. The questions will have 2-3 possible answer choices. The assessment has built in supports to ensure students can respond as independently as possible. The test must be administered by a Tennessee certified and licensed educator employed by the district.

Alt-Science Matrix for Content Modules

TCAP ALT Science Content Module

Module Overview

Standard Codes

Grade Levels

Module 1: Life Science: Structure and Function/Growth and Development of Organisms

This module addresses the internal and external macroscopic structures organisms have that allow for growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction. 

  • 3.4.1
  • 4.1.1
  • 7.1.3
  • 7.1.5

3, 4, 7

Module 2:Life Science: Energy Flow

This module addresses how food provides animals to materials and energy needed for body repair, growth, warmth, and motion. It addresses how plants use energy from light to make sugars through photosynthesis. It covers how, within individual organisms, food is broken down through a series of chemical reactions that release energy.

  • 3.2.1
  • 3.3.1
  • 4.2.1
  • 5.2.1
  • 5.3.1
  • 5.3.2
  • 6.2.2
  • 7.3.1
  • 7.4.2

3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Module 3: Life Science: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

This module addresses organisms and their need for particular environments. It addresses how natural selection acts over generations and allows species to adapt to changes in environmental conditions.

  • 3.5.1
  • 4.4.1
  • 4.5.1
  • 6.2.4
  • 7.4.4
  • 8.5.2
  • 8.5.5

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Module 4: Physical Science: Forces and Motion

This module addresses the effect of unbalanced forces on an object resulting in a change of motion. It addresses the fact that some forces act through contact and some forces act even when the objects are not in contact.

  • 3.11.1
  • 3.12.1
  • 3.12.2
  • 4.11.2
  • 4.11.3
  • 5.12.1
  • 5.12.2
  • 7.11.3
  • 7.11.4
  • 8.12.1
  • 8.12.2

3, 4, 5, 7, 8

Module 5: Physical Science: Definitions of Energy

This module addresses how energy can be moved from place to place by moving objects, or through sound, light, or electrical currents. It addresses how energy can change types, and how it can be tracked through physical or chemical interactions.

  • 3.10.1
  • 4.10.1
  • 6.10.2
  • 6.10.3
  • 6.10.4

3, 4, 6

Module 6: Physical Science: Structure of Matter

This module addresses how to identify particular materials by measuring a variety of observable properties. It addresses the fact that matter is composed of atoms and molecules and how that fact can be used to explain the properties of substances, diversity of materials, states of matter, phase changes, and conservation of matter.

  • 4.10.2
  • 5.9.1
  • 5.9.3
  • 8.9.1
  • 8.9.2
  • 8.9.6
  • 8.9.10
  • 8.9.11


4, 5, 8

Module 7: Earth Science: Earth Materials and Systems

This module addresses how water, ice, wind, organisms, and gravity break rocks, soils, and sediments into smaller pieces and move them around. It addresses how energy flows and matter cycles within and among Earth’s systems, and discusses the sun and Earth’s interior as primary energy sources.

  • 3.8.2
  • 4.7.1
  • 5.8.1
  • 5.8.2
  • 6.8.2
  • 6.8.4
  • 7.7.5
  • 7.7.6

3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Module 8: Earth Science: Human Impacts on Earth Systems

This module addresses the societal activities that have had major effects on the land, ocean, atmosphere, and even outer space. It addresses how societal activities can also help protect Earth’s resources and environments.

  • 3.7.4
  • 4.7.2
  • 5.2.3
  • 7.7.7

4, 7

Module 9: Earth Science: Earth and the Solar System

This module addresses the solar system and that it contains many varied objects held together by gravity. It addresses how solar system models explain and predict eclipses, lunar phases, and seasons.

  • 6.6.3
  • 6.6.6
  • 6.6.7
  • 8.12.6

6, 8

Module 10: High School Biology I – Life Science: Structure and Function/Growth and Development

This module addresses that systems of specialized cells within organisms help perform essential functions of life and that any one system in an organism is made up of numerous parts. It addresses how feedback mechanisms maintain an organism’s internal conditions and mediate behaviors.

  • 3210.1.3
  • 3210.1.5
  • 3210.1.6

High School

Module 11: High School Biology I – Life Science Energy Flow

This module addresses how, through cellular respiration, matter and energy flow through different organizational levels of an organism as elements and are recombined to form different products and transfer energy. It addresses that only a fraction of matter consumed at the lower level of a food web is transferred up, resulting in fewer organisms at the higher levels.

  • 3210.2.2
  • 3210.3.1
  • 3210.3.3

High School

Module 12: High School Biology I – Life Science: Variation of Traits

This module addresses how genetic and environmental factors affect the variation and distribution of traits in a population. It addresses that natural selection occurs only if there is variation in the genes and traits between organisms in a population. It covers how traits that positively affect survival can become more common in a population.

  • 3210.4.4
  • 3210.4.5
  • 3210.5.1
  • 3210.5.3

High School

Alt-Social Studies Matrix for Content Modules

TCAP ALT Social Studies Content Module

Module Overview

Standard Codes

Grade Level

Grade 3 Module 1: Geography of North America

This module addresses the use of maps to locate relative positions and major physical features in the world and North America. It addresses the exchange of goods and services and covers the structure and purpose of government.

  • 3.3
  • 3.4
  • 3.18
  • 3.22
  • 3.26


Grade 3 Module 2: Geography of Europe and Africa

This module addresses the use of maps to locate physical features of Europe and Africa. It addresses imports and exports of European and African countries.

  • 3.42
  • 3.44
  • 3.49
  • 3.52


Grade 4 Module 1: Early Explorers, Settling the Colonies, and the War for Independence

This module addresses the reasons for European exploration of the Americas, reasons for settling the colonies, and the benefits of cooperation with American Indians. It covers early exploration of land west of the Appalachian Mountains. The module addresses the causes of the American Revolution and the importance of the Declaration of Independence. 

  • 4.4
  • 4.10
  • 4.18
  • 4.20
  • 4.23
  • 4.28


Grade 4 Module 2: The New Nation’s Westward Expansion (1790-1830)

This module addresses the Southwest Territory, Louisiana Purchase, and Indian Removal Act, including the map locations and key people involved in each. It addresses the effect geography and climate had on the settlers traveling on overland trails to the West.

  • 4.45
  • 4.47
  • 4.48
  • 4.56


Grade 5 Module 1: The History of America: Prior to Civil War, The Civil War, and Industrial America

This module addresses sectional differences that led to the Civil War, main events of the war, and the roles of key people. It addresses the need for the South and Tennessee to move toward industry after the war and introduces the inventors, entrepreneurs, and other key people who lead American industrialization.

  • 5.2
  • 5.6
  • 5.12
  • 5.15
  • 5.27
  • 5.37


Grade 5 Module 2: The History of America: The Roaring Twenties and The Modern United States

This module addresses key people of the women’s suffrage movement and Tennessee’s role in it. It addresses the impact of the Great Depression, and the key events and struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. The module also addresses the significant role Memphis, Tennessee played in popular music.

  • 5.46
  • 5.49
  • 5.64
  • 5.65


Grade 6 Module 1: World History and Geography: Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Israel

This module addresses the location and physical features of Mesopotamia, factors that caused Mesopotamian societies to grow, and key accomplishments of people in that region. It also addresses important achievements of ancient Egypt, development of the ancient Israelites, and the significance of Abraham and Moses.

  • 6.8
  • 6.12
  • 6.13
  • 6.19
  • 6.40


Grade 6 Module 2: World History and Geography: Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome

This Module addresses how the geographical location of ancient Greece fostered Greek trade and cultural influence. It covers the origins of direct and representative democracy in Greece. The module addresses how the geographical location of ancient Rome shaped Roman society and expanded its political power. It covers ancient Roman contributions to democratic principles, literature, art, architecture, engineering, and technology.

  • 6.47
  • 6.49
  • 6.61
  • 6.63
  • 6.70


Grade 7 Module 1: World History and Geography: Africa, China, and Middle Ages in Western Europe

This module addresses trading centers that developed into centers of culture and learning in West Africa and the factors that helped the development of states and cities. The module addresses the rapid development of China during the Song Dynasty, and the spread of Chinese technology. The module addresses medieval Europe’s social organization and economy. It covers the emergence of a modern economy in Europe.

  • 7.13
  • 7.16
  • 7.22
  • 7.23
  • 7.33
  • 7.41


Grade 7 Module 2: World History and Geography: The Renaissance and The Age of Exploration

This module addresses the effects of reopening the ancient Silk Road, and advances made in literature, the arts, science, mathematics, cartography, engineering, and the understanding of human anatomy and astronomy. The module addresses European countries’ exploration and reasons for successes in colonizing North America. It covers exchanges of goods and services among Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, and the effect on economy and society.

  • 7.45
  • 7.48
  • 7.71
  • 7.74


Grade 8 Module 1: United States History and Geography: Colonialism, Development of a New Nation, and The Constitution and Foundation of the American Political System.

This module addresses the founding of Plymouth Colony and the key people involved. It addresses the causes, major battles, leaders, and events of the American Revolution. The module covers the principles of the U.S. Constitution and the purposes of government.

  • 8.3
  • 8.22
  • 8.25
  • 8.33


Grade 8 Module 2: United States History and Geography: Growth of the Young Nation, The Sectionalism of the American North, South, and West, Slavery in America, and The Civil War

This module addresses leaders, events, and impact of western expansion on Tennessee’s development and statehood. It covers the causes of the Texas War of Independence and the impact of discovery of gold in California on the United States economy. The module addresses the abolitionist movement, the geographical differences between the North and South, and significant writings and speeches by Abraham Lincoln.

  • 8.39
  • 8.59
  • 8.63
  • 8.66
  • 8.72
  • 8.76


Timing and Length

The test may be administered over a two month window beginning March 6 through May 12, 2017. Each content assessment assigned to the grade level will include 20-30 multiple choice questions.

The test may be stopped and started as often as is appropriate and may be administered over multiple days. The test administrator will determine the length of each session based on individual student need.

TCAP/Alt Accommodations

IEPs are annually reviewed and updated to indicate participation in the alternate assessment system. Participation in the alternate assessment itself is considered the accommodation. However, TCAP/Alt has several accommodations allowable accommodations. These include:

  • assistive technology for presentation of items to students,
  • assistive technology for student response to items, and
  • sign language (e.g., ASL, PSE, SEE).

Most students, who use an accommodation as defined in the list above, require the accommodation on a daily basis. The vast majority of IEPs for students who participate in the alternate assessment will already include the accommodations as listed above. If the accommodation required for access to the assessment is not currently included in the IEP, there are a few places which are appropriate to indicate accommodation use. Additional places to indicate use of accommodations for TCAP/Alt use could be:

  • custom classroom accommodations (may be used to indicate paper use);
  • communication needs under the narratives page (could be used to include Scribe and/or paper); and
  • custom supplementary aides.

Assistive Technology (AT)

Students may use a variety of assistive technology devices to input responses, both selected responses and as text-based open responses. Input could occur through alternate keyboards, eye gaze, switch devices, or speech-to-text, and other similar input devices. When this is required for a student to access or participate in assessment, it should also be used throughout instruction and therefore, assistive technology should be indicated within the student’s IEP.