Download Printable Summary of the Minnesota MCA
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Understanding the MCA
Minnesota has a comprehensive testing system termed generally as the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA). There are a number of different tests that a child will take during their school years under this system. These tests are used for a variety of purposes: to measure a child’s achievement and abilities, to determine areas where increased instructional support is needed, to gauge the effectiveness of teaching and alignment to learning standards, and to determine the progress schools are making in helping students become proficient in all subjects.
Format of the MCA
For students in grades 3-8, the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) in Reading, Mathematics and Science is a paper-and-pencil based assessment that is administered in the Spring. The GRAD Writing Assessment and the MCA’s for Reading and Mathematics in grades 10 and 11 are also given in the Spring.
For the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) of Reading in grade 10 and Mathematics in grade 11 the tests are given on the computer, unless an accommodation requires another format (braille, large print). Both the assessments have 40 multiple-choice questions.
Taking the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments
For students taking the Reading and Mathematics GRAD’s, out of 40 multiple-choice questions on each, students must score at least a 50% or higher to pass. The Written Composition GRAD is scored by trained scorers who use a holistic rubric. The rubric is based on a scale of 1-6 and students must get a 3 or above to have passed. Passing these tests is a requirement of graduation. Retake opportunities and remedial instruction are offered to students who require it.