Skip To Main Content

State Testing


What are the MCA Tests?

The MCA-III are online assessments taken by Minnesota students, which give parents, educators, administrators, and state education officials an indication as to how students are performing in math, reading, and science. This allows us all an accurate assessment of how our students are performing and gives us the opportunity to take the steps necessary to improve student achievement.

Who takes the MCA tests?

  • The MCA-III math assessment is taken by students in grades 3 – 8 and 11. This assessment was administered for the first time in 2011 for grades 3 - 8, and in 2014 for grade 11.
  • The MCA-III reading assessment is taken by students in grades 3-8 and 10. This assessment was administered for the first time in 2013.
  • The MCA Science test is administered to students in grades 5 and 8, and to students who have completed high school biology.

Test specifications for the MCA and other state tests

The Assessment division provides test specifications for the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) in mathematics, reading, and science as well as other state tests. Test specifications are specific rules and characteristics that guide the development of a test’s content and format. They indicate which strands, sub-strands, standards and benchmarks will be assessed on the test and in what proportions.  Test specifications are excellent tools for gaining an in-depth understanding of the content and format of the tests. Click here for the Test Specifications for MCA tests on the Minnesota Department of Education's website.



ACCESS for ELLs is an English language proficiency assessment designed to measure English Learners’ social and academic language proficiency in English. It was administered for the first time in Minnesota in spring 2012. Any student in grades K-12 who is limited English proficient (LEP) qualifies to take the ACCESS test. Components include listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Click here for more information about the ACCESS for ELLs test.


Minnesota Report Card from the MN Department of Education

The Minnesota Report Card provides easy access to understandable district and school data.

Click here to view the Parent/Guardian Guide and Refusal for Student Participation in Statewide Testing

This tool is designed to provide parents, educators, schools, districts and citizens with easy access to district and school information, test results, demographic information and other critical data in a centralized location. Choose from several reports to learn more about the state of education in your local district, a specific school, or the state as a whole.

Students who do not meet or exceed the Minnesota Academic Standards, as measured by the MCA administered in high school, are to be informed that admission to a public school is free and available to any resident under 21 years of age until at least one of the following occurs: 

  1. the first September 1 after the student's 21st birthday;
  2. the student's completion of academic and course credits for graduation requirements;
  3. the student's withdrawal with no subsequent enrollment within 21 calendar days; or
  4. the end of the school year.

ACT Assessment

The ACT Assessment is offered to all students during eleventh grade. The ACT is a national college admissions examination and consists of five parts: English, mathematics, reading, science and writing. ACT results are accepted by all colleges and universities in the United States. Students with a disability may qualify for accommodations for ACT.  Please contact the testing coordinator. You may also visit the ACT website for more information.

Testing Academic Integrity

On state standardized tests, our district encourages students to do their best work to show what they know and can do.  Students should not accept help finding answers to test questions, should not give answers to other students, and should not tell others what is on the test.  There may be consequences for dishonest behavior or for not following testing instructions.

Test Security Tip Line

Maintaining the integrity of tests and test items is of great importance to the Minnesota Department of Education. Improper or unethical behavior by students or educators undermines the validity of test score interpretation. 

Important Dates