MCA Testing
    Sherill Miller
    District Coordinator of Technology & Assessments

Testing Q&A

  • How can I prepare my child for state tests?

    Posted by:

    In general, parents should …

    • Remind students that these tests are important and should be taken seriously
    • Encourage students to answer all test questions
    • Encourage students to participate in practice sessions at school and home
    • Have students get a good night’s sleep and a nutritious breakfast before taking a test
    • Provide students with a study area
    • Encourage students to practice good study habits. Students should set aside time every day for homework

    Comments (-1)

State Testing Windows 23-24

  • 2023–24 Testing Calendar

    While the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) strives to ensure this testing calendar remains unaltered, it is subject to change based on assessment decisions made by the Minnesota Legislature or United States Congress.

    Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs)

    Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS)

    ACCESS for ELLs

    WIDA Alternate ACCESS

    January 29

    • ACCESS for ELLs and WIDA Alternate ACCESS begin.

    March 4

    • Reading, Mathematics, and Science MCAs and MTAS begin.

    March 22

    • ACCESS for ELLs and WIDA Alternate ACCESS end.

    May 3

    • Reading and Mathematics MCAs and Reading, Mathematics, and Science MTAS end.

    May 10

    • Science MCA ends.

Information About Assessments

  • Park Rapids Area Schools participates in all of the required Minnesota State Assessments: Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA), Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS), ACCESS for ELL’s.  FASTBRIDGE assessments are given in Grades K-8. We also offer a college entrance exam (ACT, ASFAB and Accuplacer) to 11th and 12th graders.

    The Minnesota Assessments System has three purposes:

    1. To measure achievement towards meeting the Minnesota Academic Standards
    2. To measure the academic progress of students over time.
    3. To provide Minnesota graduates information related to career and college readiness.

    The primary purpose of the Standards-Based Accountability Assessments is to measure achievement on the Minnesota Academic Standards. Districts and schools use the results to inform curricular decisions. Parents use the results to monitor the academic progress of their children over the years. Minnesota public districts and schools, including charter schools, are required to assess all students in the required grades who are enrolled in the district during the state’s accountability window. Students take one test in each subject. Most students take the MCA, but students who receive special education services and meet the MTAS eligibility criteria may take the MTAS. View the MDE website for further information (MDE>Students and Families>Statewide testing)

    The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The NAEP is a national test that assesses what our nation’s students know and are able to do in various subjects. The purpose of the NAEP is to provide a fair and accurate measure of student achievement that allows for comparisons of achievement over time and across the nation. 

    The ACCESS is an English language proficiency assessment based on the Minnesota Standards for English Language Development, developed by the WIDA Consortium. There are four language domains assessed by the ACCESS: reading, writing, listening and speaking. The test is available in six grade-level clusters: grades K, 1, 2–3, 4–5, 6–8, and 9–12. While the Kindergarten ACCESS remains paper-based, the ACCESS is administered online. View the WIDA website for further information, including resources technology requirements (WIDA > Assessment > ACCESS for ELLs 2.0).

    FASTBRIDGE ASSESSMENTS. All 50 states require annual assessments of students enrolled in public schools. Each state has the right to establish its own learning expectations (e.g., standards) and to require a state-specific test that measures attainment of those standards. In order to know which students might score low on the state assessments, many school districts use routine screening measures to identify those students who need additional instruction in order to meet grade-level learning goals. The FAST™ assessments, published by FastBridge Learning®, are designed to help teachers know whether a student is at risk of not meeting grade-level learning goals. FASTBRIDGE ASSESSMENTS will be used in Century Grades K-8.  This assessment will be administered 3 times a year, Fall, Winter and Spring.

    Results for MCA, MTAS and ACCESS assessments are reported to the district in August. This report documents the student’s overall achievement level as well as performance on each strand or sub-strand.  ISRs can be found in a students ParentVue.

  • Pearson Perspective site for Minnesota :  Help your child prepare for the spring MCA tests. Perspective for Families provide thousands of learning resources aligned to the Minnesota Academic Standards. This site has thousands of learning resources to help students improve and achieve. Talk with your teacher for recommendations on areas you can focus or simply select a grade & subject to dive into a wealth of resources. Pearson Perspective site for Minnesota


    Please note: if the Google Assessment Calendar is not visible above, please click this link: Google Assessment Calendar