Testing is used in schools to measure student achievement. State tests are given to students in a district once a year, based on their grade level and subject area. Classroom tests are given by individual teachers on a more regular basis and may include quizzes, mid-terms, chapter tests, and final exams, among others. Both types of tests give educators an idea of how well their students are learning the concepts presented to them in the classroom.
Title I Assessments
The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) 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 (grades 3-8, 10) or MCA-Modified (grades 5-8,10) or MTAS (grades 3-8, 10)
Mathematics: MCA (grades 3-8, 11) or MCA-Modified (grades 5-8, 11) or MTAS (grades 3-8, 11)
Science: MCA or MTAS (grades 5, 8, and high school)
The Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma (GRAD) are the state tests that fulfill Minnesota’s high school graduation requirement for students who entered eighth grade in 2005-06 or later. These tests measure essential skills in Writing, Reading, and Mathematics for success in the 21st Century. If a student does not pass the first time, retests are available.
Students in the classes of 2010-2014 who do not pass the Mathematics GRAD are eligible to receive a high school diploma if they:
- Pass/complete all state and local coursework and credits required for graduation by their school board.
- Retest until they pass the mathematics GRAD or take at least two retests, whichever comes first.
- Participate in math remediation (tutoring) offered by the district.
State testing information (data) by district or school can be found using the Data Center link provided. Educators can use this testing information to adjust their instruction to increase how well their students retain what is being taught.
Additional resources, including Item Samplers and Learning Point Navigator, are available on the Minnesota Assessments website. Item Samplers are provided to help students and teachers become familiar with the format and type of content included in the state tests. Learning Point Navigator can be used to access learning resources linked to student test results.
Information on this page can help parents, caregivers, and students learn more about testing in Minnesota schools. If you have additional questions about testing, please contact your school or District Assessment Coordinator.
Parent Fact Sheets
Answers to frequently asked questions about the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA), MCA-Modified, Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS), and Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma (GRAD) are available in a downloadable and printable Parent Fact Sheet. These Parent Fact Sheets are available in several language translations.