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Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) Key Points


  • In December of 2009 and August of 2011, the State Board adopted the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS).
  • The Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) was based on the old Colorado Model Content Standards, which did not reflect in any way the new standards. After 16 years, CSAP concluded its lifecycle.
  • The Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) was designed to support school districts as they transitioned to new standards.
  • Where possible, TCAP was designed to measure standards that were common between the old standards and new standards.
    • The TCAP frameworks clearly show the relationship between the assessment objectives and the CAS.
    • The CAS, however, were often assessed at a lower level than what is expected now that the CAS are fully implemented.
  • TCAP continued to assess the same content areas and grades as CSAP: math, reading and writing in grades three through 10; science in grades five, eight and 10.
  • TCAP encouraged districts to move forward with implementation of the CAS, while providing time for the preparation of students for the higher expectations to come.
  • TCAP was designed to be used for two years and by the conclusion of that time, all districts were expected to have transitioned fully to teaching the CAS.
  • TCAP did not assess the entire CAS, nor did it assess the CAS at the same level of difficulty that is expected now that the CAS are implemented.
  • TCAP did not assess Colorado’s new personal financial literacy expectations or social studies. It did not test any content standards that shifted grades and it did not test any new learning skills embedded in the CAS, such as invention and information management.
  • When the CAS were fully implemented, a new assessment designed to assess the full depth and breadth of those standards was needed (i.e., Colorado Measures of Academic Success).

Administration and Procedures

  • According to state law, every Colorado student enrolled in a public school is required to take either the general or alternate assessment in the appropriate grade levels and content areas.
  • The cost to administer the TCAP was comparable to the cost of the CSAP.