Minnesota Tests

American Institutes for Research (AIR) is the contractor for the administration of Minnesota's statewide assessments. Resources for District Assessment Coordinators, including test manuals and directions, test monitor directions, training resources, item samplers, and software downloads, are available on AIR's Minnesota Assessments web portal.

Title I Assessments
The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) and alternate assessments (MCA-Modified and MTAS) are the state tests that help districts measure student progress toward Minnesota's academic standards and meet the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Students take one test in each subject. Most students take the MCA, but students who receive special education services and meet eligibility criteria may take the MCA-Modified or the MTAS. Download Alternate Assessment Eligibility Requirements.

English Language Proficiency Assessments
The ACCESS for ELLs and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs are the assessments developed by the WIDA consortium and administered to English learners in order to measure progress toward meeting Minnesota’s standards for English language development, developed by the WIDA consortium. Most English learners will take the ACCESS for ELLs, but English learners who received special education services and meet the participation guidelines may take the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs. A link to the WIDA Consortium website is provided under related resources. Download Alternate ACCESS for ELL Participation Guidelines.

Graduation Assessments
In order to be eligible for a diploma from a Minnesota public high school, all students must fulfill graduation assessment requirements in writing, reading, and mathematics. Based on the revisions to Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.30, the graduation assessment requirements have changed.

There are different routes to meeting graduation assessment requirements, depending on what year students were first enrolled in grade 8. Below are the graduation assessment requirements by grade.

Student first enrolled in grade 8 in 2009–10 or earlier (likely a grade 12 student or older in 2013-14)

  • Meet or have met graduation assessment requirements through Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma (GRAD) in writing, reading, and mathematics by: achieving proficiency on high school Title I assessments; passing GRAD retests (Minnesota Alternate Assessment: Writing can still be administered to students who need an alternate assessment to meet the requirements for writing); and/or meeting GRAD alternate routes [GRAD alternate routes for this group of students refers to mathematics alternate pathway (for students enrolled in grade 8 through 2009–2010), individual passing score, ELL exemption, and pass other state (reciprocity)]. OR
  • Take or have taken ACT/ WorkKeys/Compass/Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics. OR
  • Have or receive score on equivalent assessment (district determined) to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics.

Student first enrolled in grade 8 in 2010-11 (likely a grade 11 student in 2013-14)

  • Meet or have met graduation assessment requirements through GRAD in writing, reading, and mathematics by: achieving proficiency on high school Title I assessments; passing GRAD retests (Minnesota Alternate Assessment: Writing can still be administered to students who need an alternate assessment to meet the requirements for writing); and/or meeting GRAD alternate routes [GRAD alternate routes for this group of students refers to, individual passing score, ELL exemption, and pass other state (reciprocity)]. OR
  • Take or have taken ACT/ WorkKeys/Compass/Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics. OR
  • Have or receive a score on equivalent assessment (district determined) to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics.

Student first enrolled in grade 8 in 2011-12 (likely a grade 10 student in 2013-14)

  • Take grade 11 ACT plus Writing (College Entrance Exam) during statewide administration in 2014–2015 in writing, reading, and mathematics
  • If student is unable to take Grade 11 ACT plus Writing
    • Meet or have met graduation assessment requirements through GRAD in writing, reading, and mathematics by: achieving proficiency on high school Title I assessments; passing GRAD retests (Minnesota Alternate Assessment: Writing can still be administered to students who need an alternate assessment to meet the requirements for writing); and/or meeting GRAD alternate routes [GRAD alternate routes for this group of students refers to, individual passing score, ELL exemption, and pass other state (reciprocity)]. OR
    • Take or have taken ACT/ WorkKeys/Compass/ASVAB to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics (note: ACT/WorkKeys/Compass will not be reimbursed if a student takes the ACT plus Writing statewide administration.) OR
    • Have or receive score on equivalent assessment (district determined) to meet requirements in writing, reading, and/or mathematics.

Student first enrolled in grade 8 in 2012-13 and later (likely a grade 9 student and below in 2013-14)
  • Take Grade 8 ACT Explore (Career and College Assessment), when available (Grade 8 ACT Explore was not available statewide in 2013-14)
  • Take Grade 10 ACT Plan (Career and College Assessment). POSSIBLY
  • Take ACT Compass (College Placement Diagnostic Assessment)
    • Students not yet academically ready for a career or college based on their growth in academic achievement between grades 8 and 10 (as determined by performance on the grade 8 and 10 assessments) must take the college placement diagnostic exam before taking the college entrance exam in the spring. AND
  • Take Grade 11 ACT plus Writing statewide administration (College Entrance Exam). OR
  • MTAS (for grades above)

Overview information for parents is available on the Testing Information section of the MDE website
.


Testing Schedules
The finalized testing schedule for 2014–2015 is below. The contract for the Minnesota Assessments was awarded to Pearson, and includes the grade 8 ACT Explore and grade 10 ACT Plan career and college assessments. ACT holds the contract for the ACT Compass college placement diagnostic assessment and the ACT Plus Writing college entrance exam.
 

Testing Schedules