Special Populations

Alternate Assessment

Alternate assessments are designed for students with significant cognitive disabilities (about one percent of the student population). The structures of alternate assessments are designed around the students’ physical and cognitive disabilities in a way that allows them to answer test questions and participate in the test as independently as possible. For example, a variety of accommodations are built into the test design in order to accommodate each student’s personal mode of communication (e.g., sign language, eye gaze, augmentative communication devices, etc.).

A student eligible to participate in the alternate assessment will be assessed on all four content areas—ELA, math, science, and social studies—with the exception of the optional Grade 2 TCAP-Alt, which only assesses ELA and math.

Tennessee currently offers the following alternate assessments:

  • [Required] The Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) in ELA/writing and mathematics (Grades 3–8, 11)
  • [Required] The TCAP-Alt for Science and Social Studies (Grades 3–8,  Grade 10 Science)
  • [Optional] The TCAP-Alt for ELA and math (Grade 2)
None MSAA for
ELA & Math
TCAP-Alt for
Math and ELA
TCAP-Alt for
TCAP-Alt for
Social Studies
Grade 2 X (optional)
Grades 3–8 X X X
Grade 9 X
Grade 10 X
Grade 11 X
Grade 12 X*


Questions? Please contact Lori.Morris@tn.gov (assessment logistics), Christina.Fox@tn.gov  (assessment design), or Alison.Gauld@tn.gov (preparing for assessments).



Accessibility and Accommodations