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
these provide students the opportunity to apply critical
thinking needed for success in college and careers and show
what they know and can do.
Are there limits on local testing?
As stated in Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.301, 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.
These limits do not include statewide testing.
In an effort to encourage transparency, the statute also
requires a district or charter school, before the first day of
each school year, to publish on its website a comprehensive
calendar of standardized tests to be administered in the
district or charter school during that school year. The
calendar must provide the rationale for administering each
assessment and indicate whether the assessment is a local
option or required by state or federal law.
What if I choose not to have my student participate?
Parents/guardians have a right to not have their student
participate in state-required standardized assessments.
Minnesota Statutes require the department to provide
information about statewide assessments to parents/
guardians and include a form to complete if they refuse to
have their student participate. This form follows on the next
page and includes an area to note the reason for the refusal
to participate. Your student’s district may require additional
A school or district may have additional consequences
beyond those mentioned in this document for a student not
participating in the state-required standardized assessments.
There may also be consequences for not participating in
assessments selected and administered at the local level.
Please contact your school for more information regarding
When do students take the assessments?
Each school sets their testing schedule within the
state testing window. Contact your student’s
school for information on specific testing days.
• 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.
When do I receive my student’s results?
Each summer, 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
How much time is spent on testing?
Statewide assessments are taken one time each
year; the majority of students test online. On
average, the amount of time spent taking
statewide assessments is less than 1 percent of
instructional time in a school year. The
assessments are not timed and students can
continue working as long as they need.
Why does it seem like my student is taking
The statewide required tests are limited to those
outlined in this document. Many districts make
local decisions to administer additional tests that
the state does not require. Contact your district for
Where do I get more information?
Students and families can find out more on our
tatewide Testing page (education.state.mn.us >
Students and Families > Programs and Initiatives
> Statewide Testing).
Posted May 2018