Understanding Quick Scores

Key Terms

  • Raw Score: the number of questions a student answered correctly.
  • Scale Score: generated from the raw score; this allows a comparison of student performance from year to year. Because the questions on the test change each year, scale scores give us a metric to compare apples to apples. 
  • Cut Score: generated from the scale score; determines a student’s performance level (i.e., below basic, basic, proficient, advanced).
  • Quick Score: generated from the raw score; only to be factored into a student’s end of year grade, as required by law. This score is on a 100-point scale because student grades are on a 100-point scale.
  • Performance Levels: generated from the scale score to represent student’s level of proficiency. Performance levels are categorized as below basic, basic, proficient, or advanced. For high school math, ELA and U.S. history, performance levels are categorized as Level 4 (Mastered), Level 3 (On-track), Level 2 (Approaching), and Level 1 (Below).

Quick scores convert a student's raw score on TCAP (the number of questions they answered correctly) into a measure on the 100-point grading scale. This is the typical grading scale used by teachers. Quick scores are only intended to be factored into a student’s end of year grade.

Quick scores are not intended to be a parent’s primary window into their student’s performance on TCAP. Detailed reports on student performance level (i.e., below basic, basic, proficient, advanced) are shared with teachers and parents later in the summer to explain where students excelled and where they struggled.

What quick scores ARE

  • They convert the number of questions students answered correctly on TCAP into a measure on a 100-point grading scale typically used by teachers.
  • They are intended to be factored into a student’s end of year grade.

What quick scores are NOT

  • They are not the percent correct or a percentile rank.
  • They do not represent a student’s performance level on the TCAP.
  • They are not used for school or district accountability.
  • They are not used for teacher evaluation or TVAAS.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are quick scores calculated?

Quick scores convert a student's raw score on TCAP (the number of questions they answered correctly) into a measure on the 100-point grading scale. This is the typical grading scale used by teachers.

We calculate the quick score using the cube root methodology, which follows the following steps:

  • STEP 1: Convert the raw score into a percentage by dividing the raw number of correct answers by the total test items.
  • STEP 2: Determine the cube root (^1/3) of the percentage from Step 1. 
  • STEP 3: Multiply the result of Step 2 by the constant term, which is 21.5443. The result of Step 3 equals the quick score.
    • The constant term makes the maximum quick score equal to 100 and the minimum quick score equal to 0; thus, creating a range from 0-100, which aligns with a traditional 100-point grading scale.

Two examples of the cube root methodology are available here.

The interval scaling method, used previously for grades 3-8, is available here.

Who receives quick scores?

All students who take the TCAP assessment in grades 3-8 and high school receive a quick score.

How do quick scores impact teachers?

Quick scores do not impact teacher evaluation or TVAAS, and quick scores have no bearing on personnel decisions tied to teacher performance.

How do quick scores impact students?

As required by state law, quick scores must be factored into a student’s end of year grade as a reflection of their results on the TCAP. We calculate a quick score to convert student results on the TCAP to a number on the traditional 100-point grading scale.

For grades 3-8, there is no statewide uniform grading policy. This means that a quick score of 84 in one district may be considered a B, while in another district it may be considered a C.

For grades 9-12, there is a statewide uniform grading policy, which means that the quick score range for an A is consistent across Tennessee.

Has the bar for proficiency changed?

No, the bar for proficiency has not changed.  Performance levels, including proficient, are the same as they were last year, and they are still based on scale scores. Remember, scale scores allow us to compare student performance from year to year. Because the questions on the test change each year, scale scores give us a metric to compare apples to apples. 

How can my student have a quick score of 89 and still not be proficient on the TCAP?

A quick score does not determine TCAP performance levels (i.e., below basic, basic, proficient, advanced). Quick scores are solely created for districts to incorporate student results into end of year grades and are not intended to be a parent’s primary window into their student’s performance on TCAP.

Detailed reports on student performance level (i.e., below basic, basic, proficient, advanced) are shared with teachers and parents later in the summer to explain where students excelled and where they struggled.

Consider this example, if a student answers 72 percent of TCAP questions correctly in third-grade English language arts, that student would be considered proficient based on the scale score, which is the score used to determine performance levels. However, if we were to use 72 percent as a quick score – intended to be factored into a student’s end of year grade – in most districts, that proficient student would receive a low or failing grade according to the typical A-F grading system. Since TCAP performance levels are not aligned to the A-F grading system, we create quick scores in order to incorporate student TCAP results in a student's end of year grade.