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, will be available on PearsonAccess.

ACT provides the Career and College Assessments. These assessments include ACT’s Explore, ACT’s Plan, ACT Plus Writing and ACT’s Compass. Resources for District and School Assessment Coordinators will be available on the ACT website.

American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted to provide the Minnesota assessments for 2013-2014. AIR’s Online Reporting System and Learning Point Navigator will be available to districts until October 31, 2014.

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.

Note: 2013–2014 was the last administration year of the MCA-Modified assessments. As a result of U.S. Department of Education regulations that require states to discontinue alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards, MCA-Modified will no longer be offered in spring of 2015 or thereafter.

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. A link to the WIDA Consortium website is provided under related resources. Download Alternate ACCESS for ELL Participation Guidelines.

Career and College Assessments – For students in grade 8 in 2012-2013 and later
A series of career and college assessments are being administered beginning in 2014-15:

  • ACT’s Explore is a required graduation assessment to provide information to grade 8 students, their parents, and educators about students’ achievement in Reading, English, Mathematics, and Science.  The assessment includes a career interest survey.
  • ACT’s Plan is a required graduation assessment to provide information to grade 10 students, their parents, and educators about students’ achievement in Reading, English, Mathematics, and Science.  The assessment includes a career interest survey.
  • ACT’s Compass is a graduation assessment provided to some students who, based on performance in grade 10, are not prepared for postsecondary success. Students who are eligible for the Compass are required to take it to meet graduation assessment requirements.
  • ACT Plus Writing is a required graduation assessment to provide information to grade 11 students, their parents, and educators regarding the level of preparedness for postsecondary success on a nationally recognized college entrance exam.

 
Graduation Assessments
In order to be eligible for a diploma from a Minnesota public high school, all students must fulfill graduation assessment requirements in writing, reading, and mathematics. Based on the revisions to Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.30, the graduation assessment requirements have changed.

There are different routes to meeting graduation assessment requirements, depending on what year students were first enrolled in grade 8.

Student first enrolled in grade 8 in 2009–2010 or earlier

  • Meet or have met graduation assessment requirements through Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma (GRAD) in writing, reading, and mathematics by: achieving proficiency on high school standards-based accountability assessments; passing GRAD retests (Minnesota Alternate Assessment: Writing can still be administered to students who need an alternate assessment to meet the requirements for writing); and/or meeting GRAD alternate routes [GRAD alternate routes for this group of students refers to mathematics alternate pathway, individual passing score, ELL exemption, and pass other state (reciprocity)].
 
OR
 

  • Take or have taken ACT/ WorkKeys/Compass/Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics.
OR

  • Have or receive score on equivalent assessment (district determined) to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics.


 
Grade 12 student in School Year 2014–2015 (first enrolled in grade 8 in 2010–2011)

  • Meet or have met graduation assessment requirements through GRAD in writing, reading, and mathematics by: achieving proficiency on high school standards-based accountability assessments; passing GRAD retests (Minnesota Alternate Assessment: Writing can still be administered to students who need an alternate assessment to meet the requirements for writing); and/or meeting GRAD alternate routes [GRAD alternate routes for this group of students refers to, individual passing score, ELL exemption, and pass other state (reciprocity)].
OR

  • Take or have taken ACT/WorkKeys/Compass/Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics.
 
OR

  • Have or receive a score on equivalent assessment (district determined) to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics.


Grade 11 Student in School Year 2014–2015 (first enrolled in grade 8 in 2011–2012)

  • Take grade 11 ACT Plus Writing (College Entrance Exam) during statewide administration in 2014–2015.

  • If student is unable to take Grade 11 ACT plus Writing:
Meet or have met graduation assessment requirements through GRAD in writing, reading, and mathematics by: achieving proficiency on high school standards-based accountability assessments; passing GRAD retests (Minnesota Alternate Assessment: Writing can still be administered to students who need an alternate assessment to meet the requirements for writing); and/or meeting GRAD alternate routes [GRAD alternate routes for this group of students refers to, individual passing score, ELL exemption, and pass other state (reciprocity)].


OR

Take or have taken ACT/ WorkKeys/Compass/ASVAB to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics (note: ACT/WorkKeys/Compass will not be reimbursed if a student takes the ACT Plus Writing statewide administration).

OR

Have or receive score on equivalent assessment (district determined) to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics.
 

Grade 10 Student and Younger in School Year 2014–2015 (first enrolled in grade 8 in 2012–13 and later)

  • Take Grade 8 ACT Explore (Career and College Assessment), when available (Grade 8 ACT Explore was not available statewide in 2013–2014)
AND
 
  • Take Grade 10 ACT Plan (Career and College Assessment)
 
  • And POSSIBLY Take ACT Compass (College Placement Diagnostic Assessment), if eligible
Students not yet academically ready for a career or college based on their growth in academic achievement between grades 8 and 10 (as determined by performance on the grade 8 and 10 assessments) are required to take the college placement diagnostic exam before taking the college entrance exam in the spring.
 
AND

  • Take Grade 11 ACT Plus Writing statewide administration (College Entrance Exam).

OR
 
  • MTAS (for grades above)
 

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

Testing Schedules