622 Testing Information
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA)
Reading, Math, and Science MCA tests help schools, districts, and the state measure student progress toward Minnesota’s academic standards. Students take Math in grades 3-8 and 11, Reading in grades 3-8 and 10, and Science in grades 5 and 8, and in grade 10 (or the year they complete their high school Life Sciences standards). Test results are reported to the public, parents, and students, and are used by the district in its school improvement processes.
Most students will take the MCA. Some students with significant cognitive disabilities may take the MTAS (Minnesota Test of Academic Skills) in place of the MCA if it is deemed appropriate by their IEP team.
ACCESS for ELLs
English Language Learners take the ACCESS for ELLs assessment in order to measure progress toward meeting Minnesota’s standards for English language development.
Most EL students will take the ACCESS. Some students with significant cognitive disabilities may take the Alt-ACCESS in place of the ACCESS if it is deemed appropriate by their IEP team.
Fastbridge Learning (Grades K-5)
FastBridge Learning is a comprehensive reading and math assessment system developed by the University of Minnesota. ISD 622 administers FAST measures in grades K-5 for universal screening of academic skills three times a year (fall, winter, and spring). These measures are also used more frequently for students receiving intervention in order to monitor their progress.
NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (Grades 6-9)
The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments are adaptive tests that estimate a student’s current instructional level and measure academic growth throughout the school year, and from year to year. ISD 622 students in grades 6-9 take the reading and math MAP Growth assessments three times each year (fall, winter, and spring). Information from these tests helps teachers determine what students already know and what they are ready to learn next so that classroom instruction can be targeted to students’ needs.
ACT plus Writing
The ACT plus Writing will be offered each spring. All 11th grade students are encouraged to participate.
Administered in the fall of 8th and 10th grades, the YouScience inventory provides information about student aptitudes, interests, and preferences, contributing valuable guidance for high school and career planning.
Why statewide testing?
Minnesota values its educational system and the professionalism of its educators. Minnesota educators created the academic standards which are rigorous and prepare our students for career and college.
The statewide assessments are how we as a state measure that curriculum and daily instruction in our schools are being aligned to the academics standards, ensuring all students are being provided an equitable education. Statewide assessment results are just one tool to monitor that we are providing our children with the education that will ensure a strong workforce and knowledgeable citizens.
Why does participation matter?
A statewide assessment is just one measure of your student’s achievement, but your student’s participation is important to understand how effectively the education at your student’s school is aligned with the academic standards.
- Students who do not participate are considered “not proficient” for district and school accountability purposes.
- Students who receive a college-ready score on the high school MCA are not required to take a remedial, non-credit course at a Minnesota State college or university in the corresponding subject area.
- Educators and policymakers use information from assessments to make decisions about resources and support provided.
- Parents and the general public use assessment information to compare schools and make decisions about where to purchase a home or to enroll their children.
- School performance results that are publicly released and used by families and communities are negatively impacted if students do not participate in assessments.
What is the relationship between academic statewide assessments and academic standards?
The Minnesota K–12 Academic Standards are the statewide expectations for student academic achievement. They identify the knowledge and skills that all students must achieve in a content area and are organized by grade level. School districts determine how students will meet the standards by developing courses and curriculum aligned to the academic standards.
The statewide assessments in mathematics, reading, and science are used to measure whether students and their school and district are meeting the academic standards. Statewide assessments are one measure of how well students are doing on the content that is part of their daily instruction. It is also a measure of how well schools and districts are doing in aligning their curriculum and teaching the standards.
Why are these assessments effective?
Minnesota believes that in order to effectively measure what students are learning, testing needs to be more than answering multiple-choice questions.
- To answer questions, students may need to type in answers, drag and drop images and words, or manipulate a graph or information.
- The reading and mathematics MCAs are adaptive, which means the answers a student provides determine the next questions the student will answer.
- The science MCA incorporates simulations, which require students to perform experiments in order to answer questions.
All of these tests provide students the opportunity to apply critical thinking needed for success in college and careers and show what they know and can do.
Because test content represents the academic standards as completely as possible, preparing for and taking the assessments uses the very same knowledge, processes, and strategies included in the standards.
Are there limits on local testing?
As stated in Minnesota Statute, for students in grades 1-6, the cumulative total amount of time spent taking locally adopted districtwide or schoolwide assessments must not exceed 10 hours per school year. For students in grades 7-12, the cumulative total amount of time spent taking locally adopted districtwide or schoolwide assessments must not exceed 11 hours per school year.
Estimated time spent in state and district assessment can be found on the ISD 622 Testing website. On average, the amount of time spent taking statewide assessments is less than 1 percent of instructional time in a school year. Most assessments are not timed, and students can continue working as long as they need.
What if I choose not to have my student participate?
Parents/guardians have a right to have their student not participate in state-required and district-selected standardized assessments. The Minnesota Department of Education provides a form to refuse participation in statewide tests and includes an area to note the reason for the refusal to participate. If you also wish to refuse district-selected assessments, complete and sign the Parent/Guardian Assessment Refusal form found at www.isd622.org/testing.
When do students take the assessments?
The 2021-2022 ISD 622 testing calendar can be found at www.isd622.org/testing. The MCA and MTAS testing window begins in March and ends in May. The ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs testing window begins at the end of January and ends in March. Each school sets its testing schedule within the state testing window.
When do I receive my student’s results?
Each fall, individual student reports are sent to school districts and are provided to families no later than fall conferences. The reports can be used to see your child’s progress and help guide future instruction.
Where do I get more information?
Students and families can find out more on the Minnesota Department of Education Statewide Testing page.
More information may be found on the ISD 622 Testing page at www.isd622.org/testing.