TN Ready Question Types for ELA Test


TN Ready is the Tennessee State Assessment that is replacing TCAP beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.

It was originally framed as a mixture of Common Core and State Performance Indicators (SPIs), but it appears based on what has been released to focus almost exclusively on Common Core.

Information about the design of the test has slowly been released throughout spring 2015, but has not been widely distributed to teachers. The Tennessee Department of Education’s website includes PDFs outlining the test design and percentage each type of question accounts for on the test, and a basic overview of what the test is and why it matters.

Blueprints for the ELA TN Ready Test:

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3rd Grade ELA

4th Grade ELA

5th Grade ELA

6th Grade ELA

7th Grade ELA

8th Grade ELA

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TN Core has more pragmatic resources for teachers once you log in to the password protected parts of their website. Once on the site, you really have to dig through the links to find the resources, but they provide a better understanding of what the instructional foci for the coming years should look like.

Use the links below to find access resources on TN Core:


On May 20th, the Office of Assessment Logistics released log-in information for the MICA platform students will use to take TNReady.

If you have any experience with the MIST platform that was used for the TCAP Writing Assessment, this tool will feel very similar.

While the state initially set a complete item sampler of questions would be released in May 2015, the platform only shows the types of questions that will be asked for the ELA and Math TNReady Tests.

From the item designs, it’s clear this will be a rigorous test that will be much more difficult to prepare students for. Both the quantity of different item types and the high-frequency of multiple-select questions will necessitate higher degrees of content mastery.

If you are a teacher in Tennessee, you should have received an email on or around May 20th with details about how to log onto the MICA platform.

The following are the item types for the ELA TN Ready Test:

1. Matching Table

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In these questions, students will have a box with 9 possible answer choices. It looks like the question will ask them to characterize some type of information into two different categories.

2. Check Box

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The Check Box questions require students to select one or more correct answers to a question. This could be compared to a traditional multiple choice question; rigor is added through the possibility of more than one answer choice. This will be a tricky question type to prepare students for because the strategy for answering can’t be on eliminating distractors; instead, students will need to focus on what is correct vs. incorrect and why.

4. Classification

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This is another question type that looks to be more difficult for students because it requires them to understand each category and each item on the list that needs to be sorted. If a student doesn’t understand one of the four category boxes, he or she won’t be able to answer the question accurately. Additionally, it appears this question type doesn’t indicate how many answers should appear in each of the four boxes, which adds another layer of difficulty.

5. Multiple Choice

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This question type will be most familiar to our students. Now, I’m most curious to learn more about the content type that will be used in these questions.

6. Select and Change Text

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This is an entirely new question format for our students. There are two item types that are extremely similar; this one requires students to type in their own answer choice after clicking on the highlighted word.  I sense these will be grammar-based questions testing skills like homophones, troublesome word pairs, plurals, possessives, and spelling.

7. Select and Change Text with Drop Down

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This question type is extremely similar to number six; the only difference is this question offers multiple answer choices from a drop down menu. There’s no indication through MICA the number of items that will appear on the drop down menu, but there are 3 options on the sample question.

8. Select Text

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This question type provides students with a sentence that has several words or phrases underlined. From the question above, it appears these won’t just ask for errors, they will also ask students to identify words or phrases acting as modifiers, which opens up a new set of possible question types. TNReady outlines that grammar instruction should be spiraled into reading and writing. It also looks like grammar instruction will need to focus more on content mastery than the mode of questioning. In the past years, I’ve mostly structured grammar lessons as multiple-choice questions focusing on eliminating answers and how to determine the correct answer because TCAP questions were so tricky. This year, I’ll plan to have far more open response or multiple-select questions.

9. Select Objects

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The Select Objects question requires students to select a number of responses from different categories. This question example did indicate how many answers students should select from each category. This is another question type that will require analysis of every answer choice. This is also a question type where students must know and understand every answer choice to correctly answer the question.

10. Writing Task

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This question type appears to be different than the Writing portion of the test that is scheduled to happen in February. This looks like a constructed response question that will require students to respond to a text.

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