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Testing & Assessment

The Minnesota Department of Education has the MN Report Card available to view district information and assessment data.

MCA Testing and ACCESS Testing

The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) 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.

Is it important to participate?

YES!  Your student’s participation in statewide assessments is important as it allows your school and district to ensure all students have access to a high-quality education. In the past, students with disabilities and English learners were often excluded from statewide assessments. By requiring that all students take statewide assessments, schools and teachers have more information to see how all students are doing. This helps schools to continuously improve the education they provide and to identify groups, grades, or subjects that may need additional support.

Assessments Connect to Standards

Statewide assessments are based on the Minnesota Academic Standards or the WIDA English Language Development Standards. These standards define the knowledge and skills students should be learning in K–12 public and charter schools. Minnesota prioritizes high-quality education, and statewide assessments gives educators and leaders an opportunity to evaluate student and school success.


Statewide Assessments Help Families and Students

Participating in statewide assessments helps families see a snapshot of their student’s learning so they can advocate for their success in school. High school students can use MCA results:

  • For course placement at a Minnesota State college or university. If students receive a college-ready score, they may not need to take a remedial, noncredit course for that subject.
  • For Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) and College in the Schools programs.
  • English learners who take the ACCESS or Alternate ACCESS and meet certain requirements have the opportunity to exit from English learner programs.

Taking Statewide Assessments Helps Your Student’s School

Statewide assessments provide information to your school and district about how all students are engaging with the content they learn in school. This information helps:

• Educators evaluate their instructional materials.
• Schools and districts identify inequities between groups, explore root causes and implement supports.
• School and district leaders make decisions about how to use money and resources to support all students.


Student Participation in Statewide Assessments

Student participation in state and locally required assessments is a parent/guardian choice. If you choose to have your student not participate in a statewide assessment, please provide a reason for your decision on the form. Contact your student’s school to learn more about locally required assessments.


Consequences of Not Participating in Statewide Assessments

  • The student will not receive an individual score. For ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS, the student would not have the opportunity to exit their English learner program.

  • School and district assessment results will be incomplete, making it more difficult to have an accurate picture of student learning.

  • Since all eligible students are included in some calculations even when they do not participate, school and district accountability results are impacted. This may affect the school’s ability to be identified for support or recognized for success.

    Check with your local school or district to see if there are any other consequences for not participating.


Additional Information

  • On average, students spend less than 1 percent of instructional time taking statewide assessments each year.

  • Minnesota statutes limit the total amount of time students can spend taking other district- or school-wide assessments to 11 hours or less each school year, depending on the grade.

  • School districts and charter schools are required to publish an assessment calendar on their website by the beginning of each school year. Refer to your district or charter school’s website for more information on assessments.

If you wish to not have your student participate in the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments or ACCESS for EL, please fill out the required form. This form must be completed in order for your child to be excused from the test. The form must be completed and sent to Kelli Westling, District Assessment Coordinator.  The form must be received up to 48 hours before the designated test date.  Forms can be emailed to or sent to P.O. Box 160, Winsted MN 55395. Forms not received by the deadline cannot be honored.