Minnesota Tests

This page provides information on the assessments in the Minnesota Assessment System, including the Standards-Based Accountability Assessments, English Language Proficiency Assessments, and the assessments used to meet graduation assessment requirements.

Overview information for parents is available on the Testing Information section of the MDE website. See Related MDE resources.

Standards-Based Accountability Assessments
The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) and alternate assessment, Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS), are the statewide tests that help districts measure student progress toward Minnesota's academic standards and 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 criteria may take the MTAS. Download the MTAS Eligibility Requirements.

Pearson provides Minnesota's Standards-based Accountability Assessments. Resources for District Assessment Coordinators, including assessment manuals, Test Monitor and Student Directions, training resources, and item samplers, are available on PearsonAccess. See Related offsite resources.

English Language Proficiency Assessments
The ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs are the assessments developed by the WIDA consortium and administered to English learners in order to measure progress toward meeting Minnesota’s standards for English language development, developed by the WIDA consortium. Most English learners will take the ACCESS for ELLs, but English learners who received special education services and meet the participation guidelines may take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs. 2015–2016 will be the first operational administration of the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0. A link to the WIDA Consortium website is provided under related resources. Download Alternate ACCESS for ELL Participation Guidelines.

Graduation Assessment Requirements
Graduation assessment requirements are based on when students first enrolled in grade 8. Download an overview of the state graduation assessment requirements.

  • Students first enrolled in grade 8 in 2011–2012 and earlier have a number of options to meet graduation assessment requirements in reading, mathematics, and writing.
  • Students first enrolled in grade 8 in 2012–2013 and later must be provided an opportunity to participate in a district-provided college entrance exam in grade 11 or grade 12.

Testing Schedules