Testing & Assessments

ASSESSMENTS

The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCAs) and alternate assessments (MCA-Modified 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 requirements 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 one of the alternate assessments instead. The list below gives the tests available for each subject, with grades given in parentheses behind each test.

  • Reading: MCA or MTAS (grades 3-8, 10)
  • Mathematics: MCA or MTAS (grades 3-8, 11)
  • Science: MCA or MTAS (grades 5, 8 and high school)

Results from these assessments will be disseminated via the Individual Student Reports (ISRs) during fall conferences.

Maintaining the integrity of tests and test items is of great importance to MDE. Improper or unethical behavior by students or educators undermines the validity of test score interpretation. Please report suspected incidents of cheating or piracy of test items by using the Minnesota Statewide Test Security Tip Line.

Parent/Guardian Guide and Refusal for Student Participation in Statewide Testing (PDF Form)

TESTING OVERVIEW

MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment)

The purpose is to monitor student achievement and curriculum in math, reading, and science
Grades: 3-8, 10, 11
Use of results:

  • Individual student achievement
  • Review for instruction and placement
  • School and district accountability for achievement

Timeline: Spring
Estimated test administration time: Reading: 2-3.5 hours, Math: 1.5-2.5 hours, Science: 1.75-2 hours

MTAS (Minnesota Test of Academic Skills)

This test is administered to students who receive special education services and meet eligibility criteria
Grades: 3-8, 10, 11
Use of results:

  • Individual student achievement
  • Review for instruction and placement
  • School and district accountability for achievement

Timeline: Spring, as scheduled

ACCESS for EL 

This test is administered to English learners in order to measure progress toward meeting Minnesota’s standards for English language development
Use of results:

  • Individual student achievement
  • Review for instruction and placement
  • School and district accountability for achievement

Timeline: Winter
Estimated test administration time: Listening/Reading: 75 minutes, Writing: 75 minutes, Speaking: 15 minutes

Alternate ACCESS for EL

This test is administered to English learners who received special education services and meet the participation guidelines
Use of results:

  • Individual student achievement
  • Review for instruction and placement
  • School and district accountability for achievement

Timeline: Winter
Estimated test administration time: Variable, based on student need

NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress)

The purpose is an essential measurement of student achievement in the United States. It is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what our nation’s students know and can do in various subjects. The results of NAEP are released as the nation’s report card. 

Timeline: Winter

Grade:  8

Estimated test administration times: Math and Reading: 2 hours each. Each student will be assessed in only one subject.

DISTRICT ASSESSMENTS

Benchmark Assessment:  FastBridge • Reading, Math

Grades K-8

Benchmark assessments serve three purposes:

  • Allow students to be screened to monitor their academic progress. Students below benchmark are identified for further assessment and interventions. 
  • Help set a baseline for school goal setting purposes.
  • Provide data on school programming effectiveness.

Timeline: Fall, winter, spring
Estimated test administration time: Approximately 45 minutes total for all tests per grade level per testing window

 TESTING SCHEDULE FOR THE CURRENT SCHOOL YEAR – PUBLIC

Please note:  Updates to these dates may occur due to unforeseen circumstances. 

FastBridge 

Grade Level

Fall

 Test Dates(s)

Winter

Test Dates(s)

Spring

Test Dates(s)

K-8 Sept. 2023 Jan. 2024  May 2024

 

Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) 

Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS)

  Reading Math Science
Grade Level Test Dates(s) Test Dates(s) Test Dates(s)
April 9-10 April 23-24  
4 April 11-12 April 25-26  
5, 8 April 2-5 April 16-18 May 1-2
6, 7 April 2-5 April 16-18  

 

ACCESS for EL

  Reading Listening Writing Speaking
Grade Level Test Dates(s) Test Dates(s) Test Dates(s) Test Dates(s)
K-8 Feb. 2024 Feb. 2024 Feb. 2024 Feb. 2024

 

Alternate ACCESS for EL

  Reading Listening Writing Speaking
Grade Level Test Dates(s) Test Dates(s) Test Dates(s) Test Dates(s)
K-8 Feb. 2024 Feb. 2024 Feb. 2024 Feb. 2024