Assessment is an integral part of instruction that provides information about how well students are progressing toward state standards. Grade-level standards, pedagogy (the delivery system of the standards), curriculum, evidence-based practices and assessment are all interwoven in the learning process and each informs the others. Assessment gauges the attainment of learning to inform instructional practices and curriculum.
The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) and alternate assessment Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS) are state tests in mathematics, reading, and science that meet the requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). They are given every year to measure student performance against the Minnesota Academic Standards that specify what students in a particular grade should know and be able to do:
- Reading: MCA or MTAS (grades 3-8, 10)
- Mathematics: MCA or MTAS (grades 3-8, 11)
- Science: MCA or MTAS (grades 5, 8, and once in high school)
The Students and Families Statewide Testing page is available for families to understand the importance of statewide testing. It includes links to existing materials, including Individual Student Report (ISR) resources, and to the new What Families Need to Know about Using MCA and MTAS Results and What Families Need to Know about Using ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS Results resources.
How does ISD 318 use data from the MCAs or other standardized tests?
Educators use the data to measure student progress toward Minnesota’s academic standards and also meet federal and state legislative requirements. The MN Department of Education has established academic standards for each grade level.
How does it benefit students?
Standardized testing shows us where students are doing well and allows teachers to replicate and continually improve the methods used to teach those standards. It also shows where students may need additional support and allows schools to adjust instruction in each area, including tiered interventions.
Where can I learn more about the MCAs or other standardized tests used in our schools?
MDE has a comprehensive website of testing information for parents. If after reviewing the information from MDE you decide to opt-out of testing, complete the Parent/Guardian Guide and Refusal for Student Participation in Statewide Testing Form.
District 318 uses a variety of assessment tools to inform educators on student growth including the interim standardized assessments NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) and FastBridge; locally developed formative assessments, and the aforementioned Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments. Links to ISD 318 K-5 and 6-12 Assessment Schedules can be accessed on the right side of this page.
Career and College Readiness
Districts have a number of requirements to fulfill for students’ career and college planning. This includes offering students in grades 11 and 12 an opportunity to participate in a nationally recognized college entrance exam (ACT, ASVAB, etc..) on a school day (see 6-12 Assessment Schedule).