Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments

  • Assessments are administered at all levels of learning, Pre-K through high school. Throughout each student's education, there will be a variety of assessments depending on the grade the student in. Such assessments include the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA), STAR and ACT, as well as a variety of formative/classroom assessments.

    Perspective for the MCA

    Perspective is a site for educators, parents and students that has thousands of learning resources to help students improve and achieve in grades 3-8 and 10 in Reading, 3-8 and 11 in Math, and grades 5, 8, and high school in Science. It is a great resource in preparation for the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA). Teachers can help with recommendations on areas that you and your child can focus or simply select a grade and subject to dive into a wealth of resources. Please refer to the Family Quick Start Guide for hints on how you can immediately get the most of Perspective by following the concise directions how to access and use the most popular features on the Minnesota Perspective Family site.

    Achievement level descriptors for the MCA

    The performance on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) is categorized under four main achievement levels - Does not Meet (D), Partially Meets (P), Meets (M), and Exceeds (E) - based on proficiency of Minnesota Standards in Reading, Math and Science. The performance is measured in Scaled Score (SS) and Percentile Rank (PR). The Scaled Score shows the performance of a student in a given test for a particular grade level and subject. The Percentile Rank shows the performance of a student as compared to other students’ performance in the state for that particular test in the same grade level and subject. The cut scores for each achievement level differ by grade level and subject. Please refer for more details to the Scale Score – Percentile Rank Tables Reading MCA III and Scale Score – Percentile Rank Tables Math MCA III under the Technical Reports in the Minnesota Department of Education website.

    College and Career Readiness Indicators

    • What are College and Career Readiness indicators?
      • Minnesota Statute 120B.30 requires a school or district to record a student’s progress toward career and college readiness on the high school transcripts of students first enrolled in grade 8 in the 2012 – 2013 school year and later (other students should be included as soon as practicable). The statute states a student is college and career ready if the student is able to successfully complete credit-bearing coursework at a two- or four-year college or university or other credit-bearing postsecondary program without need for intervention. Districts must monitor student development of and growth in career and college readiness. It is expected that as part of district curriculum and instruction planning, districts will identify students' academic strengths and diagnose areas where students require curriculum or instructional adjustments, targeted interventions, or remediation.
    • How are College and Career Readiness Indicators calculated?
      • Performance on off-grade items for students who take online grades 3–8 Reading and Mathematics MCA will be included in the calculation of the progress score, but will not be included in the on-grade MCA-III score or achievement level, since this is proscribed by federal law. • Student progress scores in grades 3–8 and MCA-III scale scores in grades 10 and 11 will be compared with a target score in each grade that is associated with students being on track to demonstrate career and college readiness on a college entrance exam by the end of grade 11in reading and mathematics. Information about student performance with respect to these targets will be included on the ISRs. Career and college readiness indicators will be included in Reading and Mathematics MCA Individual Student Reports (ISRs) in grades 3–8, 10, and 11 to support districts in this monitoring.
    • Will Minnesota colleges accept the College and Career Readiness indicators for admission?
      • Minnesota state colleges and universities may use the high school MCA Career and College Readiness score to inform course placement. MDE will relay details once we are informed by Minnesota State.