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The Montana Comprehensive Assessment System (MontCAS) uses a program of Criterion-Referenced Tests (CRTs) to assess student progress in reading, mathematics and science. A criterion-referenced test is one in which the assessment is directly aligned to the curricular standards developed for students to be taught by.
The curriculum provides a framework for organizing the subject matters, it lays out the specific skills and knowledge students will need to gain in order to be proficient in a subject. The Montana Content Standards address the areas in which students need to gain knowledge in order to be prepared for college and career pursuits.
The Criterion-Referenced Tests in Reading asks questions in a multiple-choice and constructed-response format. Students will be asked to read literary and informational passages and answer questions based on them. There are a total of 78 questions but only 52 count towards the students score.
When students take the MontCAS Criterion-Referenced Tests in Reading, Mathematics and Science, the tests are in complete alignment to the Montana Curricular Standards. The specific content knowledge and skills in which students will be tested are laid out as follows:
Reading – Students will be assessed on their ability to construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret and respond to reading; students will apply a range of strategies to reading; students will read and respond to print and non-print material; and students will gather, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information from a variety of sources and communicate their findings appropriately.
Mathematics – Students need to become proficient in the following areas: problem solving, numbers and operations, algebraic concepts, geometry, measurement, data analysis, statistics, and probability, and patterns, relations and functions.
Science – Students will be tested on scientific investigation processes, physical science, life science, earth and space science, the impact of science, and the historical development of science.