Standards-Based Accountability Assessments
The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) and Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS) are the state tests that help districts measure student progress toward Minnesota’s academic standards and also meet the requirement of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Students take one test in each subject. Most students take the MCA, but students who receive special education services and meet eligibility requirements may take the MTAS. The list below gives the tests available for each subject and grades the assessments are given.
MCA or MTAS Reading: Grades 3-8, 10
MCA or MTAS Mathematics: Grades 3-8, 11
MCA or MTAS Science: Grades 5, 8 and High School
Why Statewide Test Results Matter
The Minnesota Department of Education has put together a FAQ on how test results are used and why they matter.
Parent Fact Sheets
Answers to frequently asked question about the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) and Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS) are available in a downloadable and printable Parent Fact Sheet. These fact sheets are available in several languages.
- MCA Parent Fact Sheet
- MTAS Parent Fact Sheet
- ACCESS Parent Fact Sheet
- Test Preparation Suggestions for Parents and Teachers
The Minnesota Department of Education provides item samplers to help students become familiar with the format and type of content included in each test.
English Language Proficiency Assessments
English Language Proficiency Assessments English learners are required to be assessed in grades K-12 in English language proficiency. The ACCESS for ELLS 2.0 and Alternate ACCESS for ELLS are administered to English learners in order to measure progress toward meeting Minnesota ‘s standards for English language development. The four language domains addressed by this tests are: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Career and College Readiness
Districts have a number of requirements to fulfill for students’ career and college planning for students first enrolled in grade eight in 2012-13 and later. This includes offering students in grades 11 and 12 the opportunity to participate in a nationally recognized college entrance exam. Students are not required to achieve a specified score on an assessment in order to graduate.
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) used in Course Placement
For students entering MN State colleges and universities in the 2017-2018 and beyond, scores from the grade 10 MCA Reading assessment and the grade 11 Mathematics assessment will be used in the course placement process. More information is available on the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Website.